And So It Begins – Dress Shopping Part 1

I’m getting married next year and whilst I’m mostly looking forward to the whole thing, the one aspect that I wasn’t looking forward to was dress shopping for three main reasons

  1. I don’t really wear dresses
  2. I’ve never looked at a traditional wedding dress and said “wow”
  3. I’m not overly happy with my body at the moment.

The first two were fairly easy to deal with. It’s just something that I need to accept. My fiance has already asked me to wear a dress so I’m going to respect that. But I don’t really like wedding dresses. So many of them are just not me – too much poof, too much lace, too much material, too much bling.

So I went dress shopping for the first time on Saturday and I have to say it was an experience.

There were so many dresses. And such little differences that it was really overwhelming. But the hardest thing wasn’t picking the dresses, it was trying them on. Which brings me to point number 3.

Wow – you do not want to already be feeling shit about your body when you try wedding dresses on.

As luck would have it I was feeling shit about myself. I’ve put on weight, I haven’t been eating well or exercising regularly and to top it all off my period decided to pay me a visit so I was nauseous and bloated to start with.

The sizing of each dress didn’t help either. So many of the arm/shoulder sections were far too tight. I tried on a 14 that wouldn’t zip up, an 8 that fit me perfectly, a 10 that was fine in the bust but not in the waist and a 12 that was fine in the waist and butt but not the bust. I’m also not a visually imaginative person – I find it really hard to picture things when they’re too long, too short, too tight, too loose. I need to be able to see it exactly how it should fit on me to make a decision.

I only went to two stores but by the second I was really over it and really confused. The styles of dresses that I seemed to like did not look good on me and the dresses that I didn’t like looked great on me. Also, despite ivory and champagne not looking terrible on me, I don’t still like the colours. I’m a black/grey/navy girl and most bridal stores don’t carry dark colours which is a real shame.  Even one dark colour would be better than nothing.

Whilst I’m not looking forward to another go, I’m booking another appointment for end of July. One of the stores I went to will have a new range in within the next two weeks and I want to try out another designer that seems to have a lot of dresses that seemingly will suit me (fingers crossed). Hopefully this time I won’t be bloated and nauseous and I’ll have my fitness and nutrition back on track.

My Idea Of Self Care

The Self-Care Sunday trend has really taken off. Personally I don’t care much about Sunday because I usually have familial obligations so the weekend is rarely about me. But my fiance does work night shifts and these are the times that I usually indulge in what I want.

It looks different every time and it does depend on what night of the week it is. If its a weeknight it usually involves yoga with the dog trying to kick me in the face, cooking myself a nice meal that I wouldn’t cook for my fiance (because he’s fussy, not because I don’t want to cook him delicious food) with very loud bad pop music and watching Pretty Little Liars with a glass on wine in hand. Some nights I might stay up to 2 in the morning watching horror movies, waking the next morning whenever my body feels like it. Or it could be your typical idea of self-care activities – long shower, face mask and nail polish.

My self care looks very different to what you see on Instagram. It’s not always about meditation, green smoothies and sun salutations on the rocks at the beach at sunrise. Its about finding what works for you and what brings you peace or whatever it is you seek. Self care can be a nap in the afternoon, a glass of wine with dinner, reading a book via candlelight or watching your favourite show. Its meant to be something that makes you feel good inside, that lets you relax and ease yourself back into the moment rather than having your mind run at a million miles an hour. Just remember that it’s what serves you and not what is picture perfect.

My Top 3 Beauty Products under $15

I used to be a make up everyday kind of girl but after some time I realised that I just could not find any make up that worked with my skin. No matter what foundation or BB cream I used, I was always oily within a few hours. It didn’t matter that I primed and powdered. It just didn’t work. So I stopped wearing a full face of make up. And that’s when I realised that my skin was actually getting better.

But I still indulged in beauty products. I bought lip sticks in all shades because I could never quite find the perfect shade of nude or red. I bought them despite having braces and anyone with braces would know it’s quite high maintenance keeping lipstick off your brackets. I wore mascara every single day and eyeliner too. Some times I’d have eye shadow on too, other times not so much. But eventually I stopped all this too because I don’t actually like the feeling of make up. My skin has gotten used to not having any on.

So my everyday beauty routine is really quite basic. Cleanse, moisturise and out the door. It’s really very simple. I have 3 products that I use that I absolutely love which you can find below.

  1. Cetaphil Gentle CleanserCetaphil Gentle Skin CleanserI love this cleanser because it is the only one that I’ve tried (and I’ve tried many, many different types) where I don’t immediately have to moisturise straight away. It is also gentle enough for when I don’t have anything on but strong enough to remove everything when I’m wearing make up. A lot of people find it doesn’t remove everything but I cleanse twice regardless and this gets rid of 99% of make up traces for me. My only issue with this product is that it is not natural and not cruelty free. Unfortunately I’m yet to find a product that works just as well for longer than a few months and isn’t $75+.
    $14.49 at Chemist Warehouse for a 500 ml bottle.
  2. Morihata Binchotan Facial ScrubMorihata Binchotan Facial ScrubI bought this a few months ago because I wanted an exfoliator that wasn’t a product. I was previously using a muselin cloth but it just wasn’t doing the trick and seemed to attract dog fur like there was no tomorrow. This has two sides depending on whether you want a gentle massage or a deeper one. I use this twice a week on the gentle side and once a week on the slightly rougher side. It also has natural bacterial fighting qualities so it keeps itself hygienic.
    $11.95 at Nourished Life for one towel.
  3. Jojoba OilJojoba OilSo, I’ve had bad skin for a really long time. It’s not so awful that it’s debilitating but it is enough to make you hate the way you look. No matter what I used my skin always felt tight and oily which I’m told is a very unique combination so finding a moisturiser that worked for me was always really difficult. I settled on a couple and even really like one by Aveeno which they promptly discontinued and I was back at square one. I’d researched natural remedies years ago and came across the oil cleansing method which I tried and liked but was a lot of work. As I wanted something that wasn’t so time consuming I jumped on the coconut oil bandwagon and let me tell you, it worked wonders. For about 3 months. And then my skin went haywire. Coconut oil is just not meant for my skin and in fact it made it worse than it used to be. I did some more research and came across jojoba oil. I was a bit hesitant after my experience with the coconut oil but I tried it and loved it. I’ve been using jojoba oil for about 4 years now with a 6 months break whilst on Roaccutane last year on the advice of the dermatologist but I’m back on it because to be honest, it is the only product that has even come close to perfection for me. Its gentle, non-irritating and seems to balance every skin type imaginable. What I love most is that it is completely natural. And I only use 3 drops of oil per application.
    $11.65 at iHerb for 118 ml bottle.

So there you have it. Each product is under $15 and even if you purchase all 3 it still comes to just under $40.



How To Say No To Stuff You Don’t Want

When my fiance and I moved into our new house we were given a lot of things – furniture, cutlery, crockery, towels, rugs, bedding and many other things. It were great to start with as we didn’t have to spend money on things that weren’t that important to us but it meant it became an expectation that any time someone didn’t want something that they would give it to us and we would be grateful. Except we weren’t.

So how do you go from just accepting everything thrown at you to saying no? Well it goes a little something like this –

  • ‘Thank you but no, I do not need anymore cushions/towels/cheese knives.’

If they insist or kick up a fuss –

  • ‘Thank you but again no, I don’t want it.’

If they keep insisting –

  • ‘As I’ve already said, no. Please stop insisting.’

Hopefully this is enough to stop them from continuing but if it doesn’t you may need to ignore it and change the subject –

  • ‘Have you tried that new Spanish tapas place around the corner yet?’

Alternatively you can just tell them to get out of your house for making you so uncomfortable.

I get it. This can be a difficult conversation to have and its mostly difficult because you’ve changed the script that the other person is used to. But that isn’t your problem, it’s theirs. So keep doing what you need to to make yourself clear. Steer away from ending anything with ‘right now’ because it implies that you are happy for them to try again and that is giving mixed signals. Be clear, direct and as polite as you need to be, remembering that its ok to decrease the level of politeness the more you have to repeat yourself.

Intentional Spending

I feel like I’ve been spending so much money lately that I thought it was time to reign that back in. I want to be more purposeful with my spending, to anticipate and plan my purchases instead of reacting to wants and things on sale. This has partly been inspired by my road to minimalism. I’m also going to start keeping track of my purchases again because I find it interesting to see exactly what my ‘I don’t know where all my money has gone’ money is being spent on.

So these are my intentional purchases for this month.

  • 2 birthday presents – $20 for the first and $50 for the second as it’s a 30th.
  • Dinner and drinks out for the first mentioned birthday – $100
  • Half of my eye brow appointment that I already have booked in – $320
  • An outdoor dog bed as the bed now is riddled with bugs and has been destroyed – up to $100
  • Dinner, drinks and parking before a concert – $100
  • Nibbles and food for my birthday – up to $200

I’ve also added a list of additional purchases. They’re purchases that don’t need to be made in a certain month – they’re more for when I’m looking for something but can’t really find exactly what I’m after so I want to keep an eye out for them.

This is my list of additional purchases.

  • Black loafers/shoes for work – up to $150
  • A new water bottle that tallies how many bottles have been drunk, is BPA free and made of glass – $50
  • Single serve bowls that can be microwaved x 4 – up to $50

All those purchases add up to pretty much all my spending money for the month so I’ll need to re-jig groceries as my fiance and I tend to eat expensive even at home. Or, he can pay for it all which to me is a much better system. It’ll also mean no impromptu dinners out, unless fiance is paying and no ‘just cuz’ purchases. To tell the truth even my ‘just cuz’ purchases get forgotten about. I have magazines that I’ve purchased every month this year that I still haven’t read. I have new books that I haven’t even started, I have new nail polishes even though I don’t really paint my nails anymore so it seems that I’m just spending money for the sake of it rather than because I really needed it or thought deeply about it.

I’m hoping that this will help me really think about what I’m purchasing and why I’m purchasing something. Do I really need it or do I simply want it?

What I’ve Learnt Through Other People’s Relationships – Part 2

Awhile ago I wrote a post about what I’ve learnt through other people’s relationships. I thought I’d do a follow up post because really, there is so much to learn through observing other people’s behaviour.

Relationships can be tricky but they don’t have to be difficult. They only really need a few things to work but for some reason a lot of people can’t manage it. To me a relationship must have trust, honesty and respect. Without those they simply do not work. Here’s what I’ve learnt through other people’s relationships.

  • Without trust a relationship can not function. I think it’s ok to sometimes doubt your partner with good reason but if at the end of the day you don’t 100% trust your partner and they don’t 100% trust you, you’ll spend the whole relationship anticipating the next step. For example, two people I know got together whilst both cheating on their partners. They eventually started dating but every time one spoke to a member of the opposite sex the other was left wondering if they were cheating and all hell would break loose. The reason leads me to my next point.
  • Honesty. People aren’t stupid and can generally pick up if you are being dishonest. A partner is usually one of the closest people to you so it makes sense that they’ll be able to see the clues. Again, a partner is usually someone who knows you inside and out so it baffles me as to why you wouldn’t be honest with them. Case in point – the couple I mentioned above could not be truthful to each other. Despite months of couples counselling one continuously lied to their partner about their escapades and the other downplayed theirs.  Their lack of honesty with each other eventually lead them to stop respecting each other and their relationship and that leads me to my next point.
  • Respect. Respect is so important. We respect those around us who deserve it and who we value as people so again, it makes sense that your partner would be worthy of that. It’s about taking into consideration the other people in your life and understanding how your actions impact them. It doesn’t mean always doing what’s best for them but it does mean looking at the consequences. As with the above couple they became so comfortable in their relationship and the dynamics of it that neither one had any respect left for the other to simply admit they couldn’t go on with the relationship and break up.

Eventually this couple did break up and break up for good which was a blessing for us all who were involved in their lives. The partner who simply could not stop cheating eventually ended up in an open relationship with a new main partner and they couldn’t be happier. The other partner is now happily married with a partner who doesn’t cheat and they are expecting a baby in a couple of months. To me it seems that this couple learnt from their previous relationship and made good on their new one.

But it just goes to show that without these 3 main ingredients, relationships become far more work than they need to be and if you want to work through it, great, but if you don’t it might just be time to suck it up and let it go.

What do you think are key ingredients for a successful relationship?

Best Time To…

So many articles to read and so little time.

It’s funny that there are so many that focus on the best time to do x. Best time to exercise. Best time to eat breakfast. Best time for sleep. Best time for sex. Best time to shower. But is there really a best time that fits everyone?

I think we all know the answer is no.

Whilst these articles are great, it’s really a matter of finding what works for you. Best time to exercise? Best time to eat breakfast? Most articles would say that early morning is best time to exercise and to eat within 30 minutes of finishing. Well I can do the early morning exercise but I prefer after work. And I can’t eat breakfast that early because my body does not react well to it. This is what works for me despite the advice that I read.iration whilst staying true to my body and what it wants and needs. I now get up at 5.30 am and do a light 20 minute workout and go for a walk before work. But if I’m actually really tired (and not just lazy) or not feeling well I won’t do it. I eat breakfast anytime between 9.30 and noon. If by chance I’m hungrier earlier then I’ll eat earlier. I sleep when I feel the need (except at work unfortunately), same with sex, showering and everything else.

This is what works for me despite the advice that I read. It’s all about finding a balance and finding what is best for your body.