Tag Archives: living abroad

Beauty-FULL!

27 Aug

I love a good beauty product and I have been known to go totally nuts buying, use a couple of times and leave to gather dust while I continue to use what I already had! I don’t think I am alone in this, am I???

However, my recent long term unemployment put a total and abrupt stop to all purchases of the luxury sort and to my horror I had to survive with what I had plus the extras my lovely sisters would send me … if you don’t have sisters like mine you are missing out, they are amazing (and hopefully reading!). I of course did survive but a little bit of me died not being able to have shiny new things to make me pretty, but I suppose I did have a tan pretty much all the time which helps!

Now that I am once again financially liquid I can have the odd splurge/investment but I have to say unbeknownst to myself I’ve become more risk adverse when it comes to new products … I am researching lots before buying and impulse purchases no longer seem to be in me! It was a shock to me too but perhaps its old age combined with experiencing a recession? Or am I just getting boring? Oh GAWD!

Anyways … I came across this great post from new Irish website Frillseeker yesterday and it really is packed full of great reccomendations for all types of beauty products from Irish Beauty Bloggers. What I really like about this is that you can see the lady in question so for the lipsticks in particular you can judge if you have the same colouring/skin tones and whether that particular shade might suit you.

FRILLSEEKER

Some of my own favourite products and brands are listed here such as:

La Roche Posay. You all need to get the Cicaplast Baume its a wonder product for everything from dry skin to chaffing/heat rash from exercise! Also great for nappy rash I believe so a family friendly one.

MAC lipsticks. MAC in general is a love of mine especially their blushes and brushes. I have Rebel and now Lady Danger lippies on my wishlist.

Rimmel Kate Moss lipsticks. These are cheap and really good! They don’t make you skeletal like Kate herself which was such a relief ūüėČ

Benefit They’re Real mascara. I just adore this product, I always feel my eyes look so much better with it on. The brush took me some time to get used to and I stabbed myself a few times but now I don’t think I’ll ever use anything else.

YSL Touche Eclat foundation. This is a beautiful foundation, it makes my skin glowy and isn’t too heavy (freckles are still visible through it which I like). The bottle is huge and lasts for ages.

Products I need to get after reading this article:

Seche Vite – this is a top coat for nails that dries really quickly so fantastic for silly billies like me that start painting their nails after they have called a taxi or just before they need to find something in a handbag or go to bed hence ruining all the good work!

Cocoa Brown tan – this has been developed my Irish beauty therapist Marissa Carter and everyone is raving about it, I will be picking up a bottle when I am home in December to try next Winter. Its really affordable and can be washed off a couple of hours after application so no need for smelly sleeping! There is an accompanying scrub called Tough Stuff that also sounds right up my street. I love a good scrub and have been body brushing with vigour lately in anticipation of 7 months on the beach. Yes I did that on purpose. Emigrants are soooo annoying aren’t they?

I’ve been using some lovely Australian products lately too so I might do a post on some of them soon too …. give the blog a little break from food!

Ok peeps have a good look at this and tell me what you think? What are your favourite beauty products? What can you not live without? Please comment as I love hearing everyone else’s opinions and I hate missing out on wonder products!

 

 

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Its February .. the month of love and no sugar!

8 Feb

Hello,

Dry January got off to a spectacular start and continued as such for exactly 14 days and 16 hours … then a rat strolled across our yard as nonchalant as you like, I could be mistaken but I think he was smoking a cigarette – YES he ¬†was THAT CALM!

What followed was the freak out of all freak outs on my part and after a brief draining of blood from his face a very calm taking control of the situation by Dave! Rats are one of my biggest fears in life, second only to death and in joint place with falling and breaking all my teeth, so as you can imagine I wasn’t too happy seeing one in the middle of what had been a lovely afternoon. Mr Rat, as the neighbours have taken to calling it (they had been watching him for a while it seems .. no, I don’t understand this either) had eaten all our chillies and was probably heading for the capsicums which were starting to rot in the sun. Dave disposed of all our veggie plants in one swift movement, laid poison, set traps and poured me a glass of wine. There really was nothing else for it, the only way to stop me crying was to have me drinking!

The rest of January although not strictly dry was very restrained until Australia Day which became a 4 day weekend of immeasurable fun lubricated with various alcoholic beverages … Oh the fireworks! The laughing! The fun!

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And shur then it was February ….

I started reading about going sugar free in earnest after Christmas, my main source was Sarah Wilson’s blog and e-books. Any fans of Masterchef Australia may remember Sarah presented the first series, she has an autoimmune disease as do I so this really interested me as she claims to have healed herself and lost weight by cutting fructose and wheat from her diet. It was something I had been thinking about for years so I decided it was finally time to give it a shot. So from Feb 1st I have not eaten any fructose including that in fruit and avoided wheat as much as possible, I am doing really well! My tastebuds have recovered to such an extent that a glass of full fat milk now tastes deliciously sweet!

This week I joined the local library, it was such a shock to see how high tech libraries have become its a long way from the stuffy little place we used frequent in Arklow in search of Roald Dahl & Enid Blyton books! For one thing the books check themselves out these days, you can keep them for 21 days, there’s dvds too and its not quiet AT ALL! My main reason for joining was that I wanted to read another book on giving up sugar called Sweet Poison by David Gillespie, Sarah Wilson refers to him as an inspiration. The book is incredible, I read it in 24 hours (it would have been less but I had to keep stopping to get into the pool and sleep) and would¬†recommend¬†it to anyone interested in health, the food industry, why we are getting fatter, heart disease, cancer, diabetes or just looking to expand their knowledge base (in other words info-hungry like myself!).

I’m not going to try and convert everyone but if you have ever wondered why humans are doing more exercise than ever but getting fatter, eating more low-fat/light products than ever but getting fatter and why this has all come about in our lifetimes this subject is worth looking into! ¬†Oh and don’t worry I will be eating fruit again in a few weeks, I am detoxing totally first then I’ll start eating it again.

Are you wondering what I am eating? If so let me know and I’ll do a post on a few meals ….

Today I made these rice paper rolls, very simple and filled with all sorts from the fridge such as peanut butter, courgette/zucchini, cucumber, carrot, capsicum/pepper, fresh coriander, last night’s roast chicken, avocado (of course!) …I’ve munched on 3 as I’ve been writing this! Other filling ideas are cold rice, noodles, meats, prawns really anything works as long as its not liquidy. ¬†Great with a simple little dipping sauce of lime juice, tamari (soya sauce) and chilli …

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Of course February is the month of love with Valentine’s Day falling slap bang in the middle of month! I just love love and not just the romantic hallmark flowers and chocolates sort but the real life best friends, sisters, parents, family, being there for each other, knowing you are not alone in this big bad world sort of love! In the past few weeks I have come across some really beautiful stories that I want to share … if you’re a Hurley get the Kleenex out ..

Bill and Shelley: Their love story 

The Race Grows Sweeter Near its Final Lap 

Ada Bryant and Robert Haire 

And lest we forget those that were not so lucky to know love in life …. Margaret Magdelene No. 322¬†

And as for me well I am super lucky and know first hand all sorts of real love but none so greater than what I feel for my early Valentines gift …. isn’t she a beauty????

20130208-131155.jpgYip, I’m as shallow as they come ,

Be good,

SJ xx

Helloooo 2013!

10 Jan

Pinterest NY Fireplace

Happy New Year everyone,

The first ten days of the new year have been lovely so long may that continue. Here in Perth there was a heatwave over Christmas and New Year and I found myself longing for bitterly cold weather, the grass is always greener on the other side!

Christmas was really lovely, both our big dinners were lots of fun. Bread sauce was a revelation and I will be attempting to recreate it at some point in the future, a pot luck dinner party is a really great idea as everyone shares the stress and there are lots of different and new foods to try. On Christmas Day we had a delish dinner with my relatives in the evening both the turkey and ham were cooked on the BBQ then served with roast potatoes and an array of hot and cold salads. The pudding was lit and served later on in the evening and it was a lovely relaxed day over all with a nice swim in the ocean before dinner. A success over all! I received some beautiful gifts which I will do a post on soon, two new cookbooks if you don’t mind along with lots of other great stuff!

New Year’s Eve was spent drinking french champagne with our lovely neighbours by the pool, it was so hot that we had to keep jumping into the water to prevent spontaneous combustion or melting! There weren’t any fireworks as I had thought, it seems Perth does a huge display on Australia Day which is January 26th so NYE is a more low key affair in the skies!

I would imagine I am similar to lots of people with new year’s resolutions to eat healthier, lose weight, do more exercise and drink less! My plan is to set myself a challenge each month as I feel a month is doable. So this year I am embarking on a Dry January inspired by the lovely EnglishMum. So far so good … although the hot evenings are not helping as I would love nothing more than a glass of white wine by the pool but I’m holding firm! I am going to break it for Australia Day though, my reasoning being if you are allowed to break lent for St Patrick’s Day then its only fair. When in Rome …

My plan for both February and March is to eliminate sugar from my diet. I’m spending this month reading up on it and slowly getting prepared food wise … so once I know exactly what I am at I will share the details. For anyone interested in trying this Sarah Wilson’s Blog is a good place to begin.

Pinterest 1

So how was everyone’s Christmas and New Year?? Any exciting new year’s resolutions?

Any suggestions as to what I should do per month after March,with a health benefit? All suggestion gratefully received ūüôā

Here’s to a healthy and happy 2013

SJxx

A moving feast ….

25 Sep

In the spring of 1987 as I was eating my breakfast before school, ¬†my mother said to my 2 younger sisters and I “There’s a surprise coming in September, guess what it is?”

“A dishwasher!” I guessed

“Well, actually yes but that will be here before September there is something better coming too …” she said.

“Better than a dishwasher” I thought to myself. Unlikely, very unlikely!

I was delighted about the dishwasher¬†because¬†I had recently come to the conclusion that we desperately needed one .. ¬†you see every time I wanted to go somewhere my Mam would say “after I have done the dishes” .. dishes were ruining my little life!

As for the other great surprise? That was a third sister, followed a couple of years later by a fourth. Although I am fond of them now I was fairly annoyed that my mother couldn’t have gotten us some brothers at the time. I remember that morning so well, it was a very cute attempt to get us excited about a new baby wasn’t it? Backfired with me though!

The dishwasher in 1987 didn’t change my life in fact it probably ruined it a bit more as small children are a good height for stacking .. especially when you have a very busy mother and a “work ethic” family .. However this week I felt the excitement all over again as we have moved house and there is a beautiful new fitted kitchen and (joy of joys) a dishwasher!!

There is also a lovely little yard where we will be attempting to grow some veggies, I may need some advice on this as the seasons, climate, varieties are all completely different to Ireland.

The past week has been spent moving, cleaning, sorting, unpacking, cleaning, losing everything, slowing finding things again, buying more furniture and even more flippin cleaning … I am exhausted!

When I read this recipe yesterday I knew it was just what I needed – I didn’t have all the exact ingredients but as my national school teacher used to tell us “Necessity is the Mother of Invention” and it was delish!

Ingredients

 

Rye bread instead of wraps, fresh coriander instead of dried, cherry tomatoes instead of “cooking” tomatoes (whatever they are?), button mushrooms instead of large, lettuce instead of spinach .. and a chilli for good measure!

tomatoes cooking

add paste and herbs

 

sweating mush and onions Sweating the onions, low heat & patience – usually I try to rush them resulting in burnt onions! But I’m wising up … a pinch of salt helps too!

coriander and chilli I added chopped coriander and chilli to the tomato sauce just before serving …

mushrooms and balsamic Added in mushrooms then balsamic … which btw adds an amazing flavour to the mushrooms, I’ll be doing this again!

mushies ready to go

toast

avo and toast This avo was very ripe so I just spread it on the toast but sliced would be nice too … a sprinkle of salt at this stage to bring out the flavour!


Ready for assembly ..

finished The finished dish .. it was really tasty and healthy .. if I was doing it in this form again I would poach the eggs, scrambled are perfect for a wrap!

 

Later on I had this … yes it is Nutella. A girl has to get her fruit you know!

SJ x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Station Street Markets, Subiaco

12 Sep

Almost every weekend since I’ve been here I’ve made the trek to Subiaco for these markets .. I love them!
From the outside it looks like nothing, maybe a warehouse or underground carpark but once you get inside its a hive of activity and I adore the buzz! I like to think I am a bit like my hero Darina Allen pottering around the English Market in Cork picking the best of everything … perhaps the sun really is getting to me.

There’s a superb health food shop called The Angry Almond where I buy porrige oats, basmati rice, dried apricots and lentils among other things from huge open metal bins. It is also a great place for spices, oils, ¬†flours, yeast, ¬†hard to find ingredients (just this weekend I got coconut sugar) and some good cheeses!

Angry Almond
There’s a branch of my favourite french patisserie La Galette de France, a florist, juice bar, milk bar, numerous restaurant stalls offering all sorts of delights but the largest part, and my favourite hands down are the fruit and veg stalls!!

The array of fruits and vegetables astound me everytime .. 5 types of melon, 6 types of tomatoes, 4 sizes of¬†avocados¬†(my addiction), fresh herbs in huge bunches, produce I don’t recognise, bright colours, fresh smells, choice, choice, choice!!

Kiwis

Potatoes Royal Blue potatoes are really good, they are white on the inside and sadly don’t keep their bright blue colour when cooked but taste really good!

Herbs

sprouts

fridge

Pumpkin

Eggplant

I have no idea what this is or what to do with it? Anyone??

corn

Chillies

peppers

uglyHow’d you like them (custard) apples??!!

Avos YUM YUM YUM!!

oranges and apples

There is better value to be had here compared with the large supermarkets, these eggs for example are about ‚ā¨6 in our local supermarket and since discovering these markets our food bill has decreased … however we also had to get a larger fridge for the amount I haul home every week.. five a day is no longer the aim but a minimum!

While in Ireland last month I treated myself to this new book from another one of my food heroes Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, I’m hoping to try lots of new vegetable dishes and salads suitable for the warmer weather while taking advantage of the huge array of fresh good quality product available here.

 

Station Street Markets are open Friday, Saturday and Sunday and Public Holidays.

Flipper’s Friends

2 May

While sitting on a bench by the Swan River this evening I thought all the talk of Sharks here in WA had gone to my head as I saw a fin and a splash!

Luckily my mind is not gone although my identification of sealife is a little off. It was a dolphin, actually two dolphins.

*SQUEEEEE*

A childhood of watching Flipper after school was not wasted on me … I knew these critters are special and can solve all sorts of problems!

We followed them along as they swam right by the shore, diving and re-emerging and at one stage tossing a big fish in the air. It was fantastic. I may have been a bit excited causing one passer by to comment “Jeez, I thought she was going to dive in!” .. Look, we don’t have dolphins in Wicklow*!

I’ve seen dolphins before but only while actively looking for them, I’ve never been taken by surprise by one before and I have to say it made my day!

Have a little look at our superb videography and see for yourself …

Dolphins in the Swan River, South Perth

More dolphins

If you’re looking for me I’ll be down by the river waiting for my friends to come back so we can solve a few mysteries ..

SJ x

* My lovely Aunty Kathy just informed me she spotted a dolphin between Bray and Greystones last week! Not that I blame the dolphins it is a beautiful part of Ireland, the Garden if you will. ¬†She didn’t produce any videographic evidence but I’ll still give her the benefit of the doubt, being family an’all.

For any non Irish readers that I may have Wicklow is on the east coast of Ireland, south of Dublin its known as the Garden of Ireland and was the birth place of such notable figures as Charles Stewart Parnell and my good self. Its lovely you should go and visit.

Finnegan’s St Patrick’s Day Super Sambo!

13 Mar

Finnegan is my Irish Leprechaun companion, he was gifted to me in Ireland by my sisters who feared I would not survive alone on my trip to Australia and he has kept me company while I’ve been here!

With St Patricks Day approaching he is getting very excited (& a little homesick) so has thrown himself into all things green and/or Irish.

Not allot is known about a Leprechaun’s diet (although green features allot see the M&Ms above) but they would have a tendency towards over indulging on porter and whiskey especially on a big occasion. With this in mind I have devised the ultimate stomach lining sandwich to help Finnegan and all us Irish enjoy St Patricks Day to its fullest.

Its just so happens that Collette (@Katzwizkaz ) tweeted me about a lovely competition she is judging here¬†on Very Good Recipes¬†¬†so I’ve decided to enter! The dish has to contain a green ingredient, no problem to me as I have waxed lyrical since I arrived in WA about the delicious avocados. The recipe ¬†is inspired somewhat by the French Croque Monsieur but mainly I made it up myself!

http://verygoodrecipes.com/saint-patrick-challenge

Finnegan’s St Patrick’s Day Super Sambo!¬†

The exhaustive list of ingredients

1 egg (beaten)

Avocado (sliced or mashed)

Tomato (sliced)

Cheese (Mozzarella or cheddar/tasty has worked best for me)

Bread

The intricate method 

Take bread, spread or place avocado on one slice (as much as you want), place slices of tomato on top followed by cheese.

Close sandwich.

Beat egg (season with s&p)

Heat a little oil in a pan.

Dip sandwich in beaten egg, turning over to ensure both sides are soaked in the manner of french toast.

Fry sandwich on pan about 4 min on each side or until toasty brown.

Cut in desired shapes and eat.

Its really good with a cup of Barry’s Tea.

Happy St Patrick’s Day

Love

SJ & Finnegan x