What a trip to *finally* find this ol’ WordPress log-in, folks!
Now, a LOT has changed in my life (and of course, we are all currently dealing as best we can with this COVID-19 pandemic), so things might not be entirely the same as they used to be here. But let’s give this blogging caper a crack again, eh Katy?
Anyone who knows me definitely wouldn’t think that my favourite F word would be fitness, but there you have it. 2018 is a year for surprises.
Maybe you’ve noticed that for the last 9 weeks, my Instagram stories have been less sweets, more sweat; less vanilla icecream, more vanilla protein; and you’d be right in thinking that I’ve changed. I really have. I’m hoping that it’s a forever change too – although let’s not get ahead of ourselves and be happy with where we’re at right now.
It all started in mid-January when I connected with Tamara, owner of new functional training gym PLC Maroochydore through a Facebook group, and she invited me to come along to the club’s launch that weekend. ‘Meh’, I thought… ‘Meh and no way.’ Fast forward 24 hours and I was puffed after getting the laundry in off the line, and was turning down a coffee date with friends I hadn’t seen in a year because I didn’t want them to see how much weight I’d put on.
‘Ok’, I messaged Tamara, ‘I’ll see you there!’
So off I went to the Saturday morning launch of PLC‘s first club on the Sunshine Coast. You can follow along with every nervous thought of that morning if you head to the PLC highlights in my Instagram stories, but the basic premise is that I was terrified and intimidated by the plethora of very fit folk turning up wearing teeny shorts, drinking green shakes and chatting about their pre-workout protein preferences. I mean, I’d just had a large serve of bacon and eggs on Turkish for breakfast, washed down with two coffees to prepare myself!
The workout itself absolutely slaughtered me, I had to stop after only one of three rounds, and I slunk off afterwards without chatting to Tamara, because I was so embarrassed at my lack of fitness. She reached out during the week after though to invite me back in for their regular sessions, and was really encouraging – and reminded me that of course everyone’s first workout would be hard. Well, duh Katy.
My first week at PLC was a bit of a blur. I went along once a day every day, and had my first InBody scan which is a way of measuring body composition… and if you think I’ll be sharing some of my ‘before’ figures and photos just yet, you’re sorely mistaken. The three main areas of focus for me were percentage of body fat and muscle mass, and my visceral fat level (that’s the icky yellow fat around our organs, the stuff that will eventually kill us). I was incredibly sad reading those results, I mean I’m 36 years old and have no reason not to look after my body, yet clearly I had ignored it for so long. What felt worse was knowing that over the last six or so years, I had worked in both the activewear and sport industries, and had been surrounded by innumerable people with the knowledge and encouragement to help me, yet I’d played the cynical part and kept rebuffing anyone’s friendly concerns. What a prime idiot I’d been. Imagine if I’d started this journey six years ago!
Fast forward to a month later, and while I hadn’t quite dedicated myself to a full program including nutrition support, I was attending two PLC functional circuit sessions every weekday, and was only shopping from around the outside of the supermarket – no processed food at all. My first four weekscan was pleasantly surprising, I lost 2.5kg of body fat, gained a little muscle mass (which was fine as I was only looking to maintain that level), and lost a visceral fat level. I was off to a slow but satisfactory start.
For the next four weeks, I committed to the PLC nutrition program which consists of a series of Yor Health products and 60/30/10 meals, and my daily nutrition looked a little something like this:
• Yor Health Supergreens + Berry Blast + Fibre shake for breakfast
• small Yor Health protein shake after morning workout (this is actually delish and I look forward to it every day!)
• YouFoodz lunch
• piece of fruit or small bowl of steamed vegies for afternoon tea
• YouFoodz dinner
I had previously tried YouFoodz and really love them for the convenience factor (with a husband who works away, I’m always looking for an easy way to prepare food for just me), and once Dion and Tamara from PLC helped me make some good YouFoodz choices (hot tip, pasta is not your friend), lunch and dinner every day were sorted.
I’m just about to wrap up my tenth week of attending PLC twice a day every weekday, and was excited about hearing my results this week – my body feels incredibly different, both in the shape and fit of clothing, and also in strength and ability. I have bruises on my thighs from kettlebells, and callouses on my hands from deadlifts and pushups. I need new sneakers because my current ones are too slippery for lunges and bear crawls, and I have started to wear my hair in boxer braids because I’m sick of sweaty hair all over me. This is the new Katy, the one who doesn’t really care what bouncy young 20 yearolds think of me, because the people who love me are getting a better version of me.
Since January 16 and in just 10 weeks, I’ve lost 7.8kg body fat, gained 900g of muscle mass, lost 6.3cm off my waist (where most of my visceral fat hangs out), and have dropped 4 visceral fat levels. I have a whole new daily routine, I have new friends who support and encourage me, and I’ve dragged a few friends along to PLC as well. It’s not a reality television show, but it IS a journey, and it’s to be expected that I use a few pithy sentiments now and again.
Huge props must go to my mate Bella who I managed to persuade to come along with me (I think that telling her she gets to laugh at me on battle ropes is what got her over the line) – she is a million years younger and fitter than me, but constantly encourages and supports me, while still pushing herself with massive weights and fast reps. Bella has also had some super results too, so congratulations kiddo!
I can only share about my personal PLC experience, and I am delighted to report that it has been 100% positive. The high-fiving and RnB music took a while to get used to and is certainly well out of my comfort zone, but usually I’m too busy counting down those last ten seconds to think about it, and I only harass Dion maybe once a week to please play an old-school rock soundtrack. (He ignores me, but I’m ever-optimistic.) And to update you on my stamina, I have been able to finish every workout since that first one – no more slinking off a third of the way through!
With a history of scoliosis (a triple curvature of my spine means touching my toes is a pipedream) and knee issues (thanks for the torn meniscus, netball), I always knew that I wouldn’t be able to do all the stations in most of the workouts, but I always feel supported to adapt them to lower-impact exercises, and am still pushed to my limits. Remember that time I succeeded at a box jump? I know I’ll never forget it! (Although I haven’t done one since, so there’s that. One day.)
There’s no danger of me becoming a health and fitness blogger so I will leave it to the PLC pros to explain more about their workouts, nutrition program and schedule if you’re interested, so head over to their Facebook or Instagram pages where you can see live workouts and ask the coaches anything. You might even see me pumping iron in the background!
If you’re local (or maybe if you’re not – PLC have clubs at Northgate, Pittsworth, Morningside, Toowoomba, Burleigh, Carrum Downs, Coomera and are opening soon at Caloundra), and would like to know more, search out PLC on social media, there’s a whole tribe of passionate folk posting info and photos, and message a coach for a free one week trial at a club near you. Sunshine Coasters, I’m always looking for people to throw a medicine ball at, so if you want to join me for a session, you’re welcome any time!
*My membership and nutrition products have been generously gifted by PLC Maroochydore, but all opinions are my own. I’m under no obligation to provide a positive review, I am sharing because I truly believe that what I’m doing at PLC is working, and I love it.
It’s that time of year again – Christmas Party season!
Every year, November brings with it the search for the perfect affordable and stylish dress to wear to work and social occasions.
These are some of my favorite dresses under $80 (some even under $60!), with key trends covered like off-the-shoulder (OTS isn’t going anywhere this Summer), ruffle sleeve and quirky prints. And I’m amazed, there’s not a stripe amongst them!
The navy B Collection Broderie dress from Big W is the perfect budget option for a work Christmas party, while I love the floaty boho style of the Erin Louise maxi and Chasing Case pattern dress for casual family barbeques by the water. And the quirky Santa-hat-wearing flamingos of the Mandy Little Party Dress are fabulous for ANY festive celebration!
Which is your favorite? I don’t think I can go past the flamingo LPD, or the Amy Pineapple shift! (Predictable, I know!)
Ok, so I know I’ve said before that I’m a pretty casual no-makeup kind of girl… but I still love being pampered. I think it’s super important to spend time on yourself and do what makes you feel beautiful.
I have previously had lash extensions, but whilst I loved the dramatic look of them on the day they were applied, they very quickly began to fall out, taking my natural lashes with them. I had been thinking about getting lash extensions again recently, but was nervous, and not sure I could deal with the patchiness and spidery look between appointments. Then I spotted my friend and fellow Sunshine Coast blogger Natalie Tink (AKA Miss Monogram) looking fresh as a daisy with gorgeous long natural-looking lashes, and she gushed about Janice of Blink! the Eyelash Expert*!
Fate was kind, and Janice actually reached out to me to ask if I’d like to try a set of her lashes, and I agreed… with a little trepidation. Janice works out of Soul Ocean Spa at Ramada Marcoola (the ol’ Surfair for longtime Coasties) and a skin clinic in Mooloolaba, as well as being mobile. That’s right, she can COME TO YOUR HOUSE!
Because I am a sucker for a day spa visit, I trotted along to Soul Ocean Spa which is only 5 minutes from my place, and immediately felt right at home – this place is a hidden treasure on the Sunshine Coast! With plenty of lush plants and gorgeous tropical decor, it’s a stunning spot to get pampered.
Janice asked me to be open and honest about what I wanted from my lashes, and since I am pretty minimal with makeup, I wanted them to look very natural and nothing too dramatic. I also wanted to make sure they wouldn’t look clumpy or spidery at all! After a quick chat, it was time for a nap. Seriously… I have fallen asleep within 5 minutes of every appointment, as it’s just so relaxing!
I feel so much more confident even when I’m not wearing makeup. I can just run out the door and run my errands without really having to worry about putting on makeup since the lashes make my eyes look brighter and fresher – and there’s no mascara residue casting a shadow under my eyes.
With all that said, I am SO happy with my experience with Janice from Blink! the Eyelash Expert, she really is an expert. Janice has really customised my lashes to my face and lifestyle, and certainly won’t apply lashes that are too long and heavy that would damage my natural ones. I will share a ‘how to look after your lashes’ post shortly, and can tell you that it’s super-simple really. Just keep ’em dry after application and a few brushes a day!
Don’t just take it from me, all of Blink! the Eyelash Extension’s reviews are outstanding and I can see why! If you’re looking for a freshen up for Summer – I love that I can swim makeup-free and not look like a panda – then contact Janice and let her know I sent you, for an exclusive discount on your first appointment!
This year, my splendid (and obviously very smart and attractive) husband surprised me with pretty much exactly what I wanted for my birthday, and I didn’t even drop any hints! I had been checking out small mirrorless cameras online for quite a few months (I’m the world’s best procrastinator when it comes to any purchase over $50) and had finally decided to say ‘Hey, I’d love to get a new camera’, but he beat me to the punch and asked me a few weeks before my birthday if I’d like to go camera shopping for my birthday.
After all my research, I pretty much knew what I wanted, and after I phoned around to see who had them in stock, we picked up a beautiful Olympus PEN E-PL8 in tan. After years of only using my phone to take snaps, it’s taken a little getting used to, but I’ve settled into it, and now absolutely love it! It’s a gorgeous bit of gear, and the tan leather detailing really goes well with my tan Kate Spade everyday cross body bag – and of course, that’s very important! With Wifi for exporting photos directly to my phone, remote shooting function, flip-down selfie screen, and compact but powerful lens, it was exactly what I was after – although I had no clue how to use it!
My big confession here is that none of the advice I’m about to share is my own, nor is it original. We bought my camera from Ted’s Cameras in Maroochydore, and the staff there let me know about a complimentary workshop offered instore by All About Photography with every camera purchase from Ted’s! This was SUCH a great incentive to buy the Olympus camera, because I knew that I’d actually get the chance to ask all the dumb questions which were rattling around my brain, and I would be able to really get the most out of my camera.
The three hour workshops are held on Saturdays, and the week after we purchased the camera, I trotted along to learn from Rich and Jay. They customised the workshop for each different participant’s camera type, and I felt super-comfortable asking questions about how to make my camera work for me (and for selfies)!
Here are my top tips for flicking your Olympus PEN E-PL8 off auto mode, along with a couple of handy-dandy cheat sheets:
Get used to touching the screen
If you haven’t already, turn your touch-screen on. To do this, check the little on-screen tap icon in the bottom lefthand corner. If this isn’t showing, press Menu and then go back to your active camera screen. If the ‘finger tapping a rectangle‘ icon is showing, then you can focus your shot by tapping once. If you want to tap the screen to take your photo, tap on that icon and it changes to ‘finger on two lines‘, or tap it again to turn off, the icon will go white.
Never crop again!
You can change your aspect ratio to square to take shots specifically for Instagram. I actually always have this set to square, because Instagram is of course my favourite place on the internet! To access your aspect options, press Menu, then scroll down through Shooting Menu 1 to get to Image Aspect, then select 1:1 for square.
Apertures and F-stops
So apertures and F-stops have always confused me, but attending the workshop really helped me understand what they do, and now I think of aperture as the controls for the pupil of an eye – the wider it gets, the more light it lets in.
Aperture is measured using something called the F-stop scale. Once you’re in Aperture mode (A on the big dial on the top), you’ll see F followed by a number on the bottom of your screen. The most important thing to know about these numbers is that, from each number to the next, the aperture decreases to half its size, allowing 50% less light through the lens.
With Rich and Jay running through a bunch of great settings for different types of shots, I made the following notes (and a handy cheat sheet below – save it to your phone for reference):
f/2.8: Good for low light situations, but allows for more definition in facial features as it has a deeper depth of field.
f/4: As autofocus can be temperamental, this is the minimum aperture you’d want to use when taking a portrait photo– you risk the face going out of focus with wider apertures.
f/8: This is good for large groups as it will ensure that everyone in the frame remains in focus. Call it the party f-stop.
f/11: This is often where your lens will be at its sharpest so it’s great for portraits.
f/16: Shooting in the sun requires a small aperture (less light going into the iris, remember), making this is a good safe bet for most bright daylight conditions.
ISO is another manual setting that always terrified me, but it turns out that once you realise that it is the sensitivity of the film or sensor to light, it’s super-easy to manage! A higher number means higher sensitivity to light. If you’re in a dark place where you can’t or don’t want to use flash, increase the ISO. (Beware going too high however, as high ISO numbers increase the graininess in your images.)
Here’s another cheat sheet for you to save!
Import your photos directly from camera to phone
With the free Olympus App, you can easily import your photos directly to your phone to upload on social media on the go. The App also has the great option to use your phone as a remote to take photos!
Use the Scene setting
Pretty much all digital cameras now come with a Scene (SCN) mode, which is actually more of a menu than a mode. On the Olympus PEN E-PL8, you’ll find Portrait, e-Portrait, Landscape, Sport, Hand-Held Starlight, Night Scene, Children, Candle, Sunset and many more presets which means you can quickly flick to what you need without having to go into your menu and change your aperture, white balance and the rest. I try not to use Scene mode too often, but when I’m out and about and trying to snap on the go (such as going to Aussie World or Australia Zoo and being in constantly changing lighting) and don’t want to constantly be fiddling with camera settings, it’s a great failsafe option.
Have you upgraded your camera lately? Got any great tips or suggestions for me? I’d love to learn more!
You’d think that with my term-time job working in the sports department at a school, I might like to stay well away from young people on school holidays; but the families that live next door and across the road in our quiet little street have some pretty fantastic kids, and I’m always happy to spend time with them.
When I heard that my holidays coincided with the four kids’ break from school for just a week, I starting thinking about what I could do with them for a great day out together. I dropped a few hints in the lead up to the end of term, asking what they’d done around the Coast lately, and with BB’s encouragement, came up with a plan.
Being Sunny Coast locals, BB and I have long talked about going to Australia Zoo together. I haven’t been for about five years, and we are constantly hearing about new exhibits opening, with incredible animals. We also both believe pretty strongly in the late Steve Irwin’s message of conservation and education. Unfortunately, BB has been working away lately, and wouldn’t be able to get time off an important contract for a zoo-day, so he missed out this time – although I’m hoping I can take him there really soon, I know he’d love it!
The kids didn’t know what they were going to be doing with me that day, as I’d tricked them into believing I was just ‘babysitting’ and we might go to a park, run some errands and maybe clean my house a little – HA! I would never choose to clean my house when there are naps to be had, so I sure fooled them! After loading up in the car and heading to the highway, we passed a few theme parks signs and even an Australia Zoo sign – young Thomas noticed it and immediately said ‘Oh, Australia Zoo would be so cool, I’d love to see the crocs’!
I pulled up at a park at Landsborough (just up the road from the Zoo) and as everyone got out of the car for a run around in the playground, I said ‘Wait, I’ve got something for you!’ and handed them each a little bag containing an animal print balloon, a couple of Cadbury Furry Friends chocolates, and an Australia Zoo brochure. As soon as they all realised that we were about to spend our day at the Zoo, I had four kids talking at me, 100 miles an hour! ‘What? We’re going there now? Will we see crocodiles? Are we really going there now? Today? All of us? Is Tommy going to get to swim with the crocodiles?
(No, lovely neighbours… I would never let your kids swim with crocodiles. Well, not hungry ones over 20 foot long, anyway.)
Why should you visit Australia Zoo with children? Well, here are eight great reasons! (To be honest, I could probably come up with a hundred.)
To be honest, there is a good chance that Pasang, the young Red Panda might be asleep when you visit Australia Zoo – he’s a typical teenager who needs plenty of rest, and enjoys having his meals brought to him. Fortunately when we visited, he was clambering around his large enclosure, leaping and climbing along tree branches.
You can’t visit Australia Zoo without seeing koalas! Australia’s most famous marsupials are incredibly sleepy and whilst there are a few different large enclosures with koalas in specially-designed trees to showcase them, it’s more fun to stroll through the walk-through Koala area and look up in the trees to spot them. We found a couple of different volunteers showing koalas, and were able to get up close and personal, and pat and stroke them (usually on their bottom)!
As a regular visitor to Fraser Island, I’ve seen dingoes before – but of course I’ve never been this close! These beautiful animals are Australia’s wild dog, and they’ve been here for over 5000 years. Seeing Archie (with the white coat) and his sister Eve was wonderful, they are such curious and beautiful creatures and reading about the conservation work that Australia Zoo is doing for them was great! Dingoes are also walked through the park on a meet and greet stroll daily.
Watching the Asian small-clawed otters Mayhem and Rosie at feeding time is certainly a good laugh. As his name suggests, Mayhem really is a little troublemaker, trying to muscle in on Rosie’s breakfast!
These guys have short but very flexible, sensitive claws, useful for digging, climbing and also for grabbing and holding on to prey. Australia Zoo provides funds for research and conservation projects, monitoring and safeguarding native otter populations in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, South China and Himalayan regions.
Since the last time I visited Australia Zoo, they’ve built a wonderful African exhibit, and these gracious giants are an incredibly beautiful addition. It’s easy to understand why giraffes top the list of so many people’s favorite animals. Their elegant stride, outrageous eyelashes, and calm expression give them an air of refinement.
Kangaroos are perhaps Australia’s best-known animal and are found in stories, movies, and even as sports team mascots the world over, but here on the Sunshine Coast we’re fortunate to have healthy populations all over the place. They’re not exactly the kind of animals you can just stroll up to though, so having the opportunity to feed them was lots of fun.
Did you know that a group of rhinos is sometimes called a ‘crash’? Best name ever.
Rhinos, with their hard hides and gentle eyes, are my favourite wild animal, and it was magical to watch these herbivores just cruising around without fear of poachers. I could’ve stood watching them in the expansive African plains enclosure.
Crocodiles, of course!
If there is one thing you’ll never forget when you visit Australia Zoo – it’s the daily Wildlife Warriors show in the purpose-built Crocoseum! Featuring wild birds including the largest raptor in the world, an Andean Condor, giant snakes and of course the stars, saltwater crocodiles! There’s much to learn about these fascinating reptiles, and the Zoo takes the view that the more you know, the more you’ll care about them.
Whilst strolling around the extensive grounds of the Zoo was fantastic, I definitely loved the show most. The exuberance of the Wildlife Warriors is infectious, and I found myself (and the kids) all shouting ‘Crikey!’ and hollering along, like a classic pantomime – it was so much fun! The colourful birds in this show never cease to amaze me, I would go back just to experience the beauty of being so close to these impressive birds, flying free around the Crocoseum.
There is quite a lot to do at Australia Zoo and if you can only spend one day there, I’d recommend checking the website to plan for an Animal Encounters and shows. It is also best to get there early if you can to avoid the midday crowds, and bring snacks and lunch so you can just stop wherever you like to have a picnic. I took along lunch for us – and yes, if you were checking out my Instagram stories, you would’ve seen that I made leopard-print pikelets for the occasion!
We all had a fantastic time together, and I’m so glad I have great kids in my life to experience a day at the zoo with me!
I know that Christmas is behind us, and all that most of us are thinking about is spending less, eating less and exercising more. (No… just me? Righto then.) But we’d be lying if we said we were going to stop spending altogether, right? Why not make that spending as pleasurable for the store as it is for you?!
This year, I’d love to introduce you all to some of my favorite shops, both online and locally on the Sunshine Coast. Supporting local and small business is supporting continued growth, prosperity and healthy competition, as well as providing local entrepreneurs and business owners (real people, not giant companies) with continued cashflow. Not only are you more likely to find something unique but it really does feel awesome to to shop small and support these people who are trying to make a living doing what they love!
This month, my blog will be getting a long-overdue facelift (yes, from a local small graphic design business), and I’ll enjoy hanging out here and writing so much more when it’s all pretty and tidy. Along with sorting the the aesthetic side of the blog, and my irregular random thoughts (blogger/oversharer = same/same), I’m hoping to showcase fabulous stores and businesses each week, so if you know of a small Australian-owned business which you think I’d love, let me know!
Now, to my first little round-up of small biz awesomeness.
1. Dew & Rose teal crystal stud earrings – These oversized teal crystals in a simple rose gold setting aren’t just the perfect accessory, they come beautifully packaged and ready for gifting. Dew & Rose supports girls’ education through partnering with One Girl onegirl.org.au, so you’re really giving the gift that gives twice. Winning!
2. H&G Designs black grid mood board – Getting organised for the start of the school, uni or work year never looked so good, with this black wire mood board to display current projects, goals, ideas, photo’s, design objects and memos. The suede straps to hang are super-cute too!
3. The Hello Workshop 2017 desk calendar – Still on the organisational theme, this quirky desk calendar has more than a little nod to the fun-lovin’ 80’s, with bright pastels in geometric designs.
4. MinPinShop Grumpy mood ring – This sterling silver mood ring is definitely the grown-up version of a piece of jewelry you might have worn as an angsty teen. With other mood options available too, you could fill your fingers and really confuse your friends!
5. Clutch Zuha beaded clutch – Need a clutch fancy enough for the big events, but also neutral enough to go with every outfit in your wardrobe? The new arrivals to Clutch are all gorgeous, but this tan, ochre and black beaded zip clutch is my pick, the detachable cross-body strap was the clincher for me.
6. Inactive Wear Can’t Even tank – Created by local genius and all-round sassypants Lauren Jane, Inactive Wear is for the fit and not so fit, who don’t want to take themselves (or their gymtime) too seriously. I’m dying over the Can’t Even, but wait until you check out the Good Fat or the Gluty Call designs, they’re too cheeky!
7. Miss Monogram Miss Victoria large pouch – Sunshine Coast local Natalie Tink recently launched her new personalised accessories line Miss Monogram, and the simple and elegant styles have caught my eye – especially the A4-sized Miss Victoria. In pink, taupe, black or navy (my fave), it’s a classic.
8. Indah Koin Australian 2 cent coin necklace – I have one of these gorgeous silver necklaces from my husband’s birth year, and I get so many compliments about it – one of these necklaces would make a fabulous gift for a special birthday or anniversary! Indah Koin also have bracelets, bangles and rings.
9. Soak Society rose wellness bath soak – Another clever local, Natalie decided that she was sick of seeing lurid and bright bath bombs full of all kinds of nasties, and got back to basics with a range of gorgeously-scented products; and has recent;y branched out into beautiful gift packs too. (Don’t worry everyone, I’ll remind you with plenty of time for my birthday, hehe!)
Now head on over to these amazing stores run by incredible people. Let’s all shop small a bit more everyday!
I just spent the past weekend Spring Cleaning (my efforts are totally worthy of capitalising those words) with my husband, and while the result is lovely – we’re still not quite Summer-ready. You know, where everything is fresh and clean, and looks entertainment-ready for any unexpected drop-ins. (Please note, I will not accept unexpected drop-ins. You are required to call or text your intention to visit at least 45 mins in advance. I need time to freshen myself AND my home up!)
There’s no better way to freshen up your home in Summer than with tropical statement homewares. Not only is it easy to incorporate, but this vibrant trend creates a refreshing vibe indoors and outdoors – and has been my go-to interior decorating trend since I was a young teenager, living directly across the road from the Big Pineapple. Having that fruity view really affected me!
To create a classy look with this trend, think luscious jungle and bright animal prints paired with casual, natural materials like warm wood and bamboo. I like to add some greenery (fake, if the occasion or your black thumbs call for it – no judgement) to ‘lush up’ the space and really compliment tropical touches. Like most trends, the key is to work from a good base – pieces that are well-made with great simple designs will stand the test of time. I love the range from Jason Agustina, it’s a small collection with something for every type of living area, made from gorgeous timbers and fabrics.
Some of my favourite colours for the tropical trend this year are yellow, green and all the shades of citrus – I love seeing these combined with a soft blue or crisp white for an elegant finish. If you already have some blues in your home decor, you can still adopt a tropical vibe, just pick sea-green and deep-ocean hues, and make sure you add plenty of greenery.
So make sure your key furniture pieces are classic, simple and beautifully made (check out Jason Agustina’s story for their wonderful commitment to customer care), choose some tropical pieces and create your own slice of paradise this Summer. I promise you that it’ll help your summer cocktail vibe for sure!
Is it possible to have too many pineapples in your home, if you live in an estate that was once pineapple and sugar cane farms?
Although I’m in my (ahem) mid-thirties, I’ve not been driving that long. I only got my license when I was 28, prior to that I was the quintessential public transport and taxi queen. I just wish Uber existed back then!
My first car was a small second-hand hatchback and while I loved her, I always knew I needed to get a proper grown-up car. My husband encouraged me to ‘size up’ and we shopped around for a car which looked cute (my priority) and was safe, fuel-efficient and drove well (his priorities)! We ended up at Sunco Hyundai at Maroochydore and chose a Hyundai ix35, at the time one of the most popular SUVs in its class, and it has served me incredibly well for three years now.
As an already happy Hyundai customer, I was thrilled when the sales team from Sunco Hyundai gave me the chance to test drive the new Tucson recently – how lucky am I? I promise I told them that I’m not a revhead car buff, and any review I shared wouldn’t be as comprehensive or informative as a CarsGuide article!
I would be lying if how cute a car is didn’t make up 90% of my opinion of it!
Whilst I love my ix35, there’s certainly something awesome about stepping into the newer version – this year’s Hyundai Tucson is like my current car, but luxe. From the moment I collected the Tucson and got the full tour of how all the great gadgets worked, driving this vehicle felt like an experience, instead a ‘daily drive’.
On top of the standard features which you can read about here, the Elite Tucson model comes with extras that I just love, such as a panoramic sunroof, full leather interior, large multi-function screen and reversing camera.
Reversing cameras… how did we ever live without them? This colour screen is a fantastic size.
Yeah, this stuff doesn’t matter so much to me, but my husband loves that he can track fuel economy really easily using the Mode button on the steering wheel. Me, I just like knowing how many kms until my petrol tank is empty. #livingontheedge
Hello soft sumptuous leather.
All the boot room I could possibly need for a weekend full of shopping!
The 60/40 split-fold back seats can give even more room than the spacious boot provides, and I know from personal experience with my ix35, the removable roller blind over the cargo bay keeps everything right where you put it, and shields shopping and luggage from prying eyes.
Apparently the Tucson is a five-star ANCAP recipient – that means safety first, folks. Again, that’s husbo was interested in, and I’m sure if you were a mum carting precious little ones around, that would be important to you too.
For more on the new Hyundai Tucson, visit Sunco Hyundai’s website. Thanks to Ky, Collin, Leah and the Sunco team for the opportunity to take it for a spin!
*Sunco Hyundai kindly loaned me this vehicle. Like everything you’ll find on Katy Potaty, thoughts and opinions are all my own. For more info, check out my disclosure policy. Please check the suppliers’ website for car specs.
I’m a bit of a creature of habit. For the last 16 years, I’ve been a blonde of sorts – not a real, light-up-the-room Scandi blonde, but I’ve been getting foils and highlights on the regular for almost all my adult life. Right up until October last year, when my regrowth looked so much like bad ombre balayage that I wanted to see what GOOD ombre balayage would look like on me. And I liked the results and I loved the lack of upkeep.
Freshly balayaged in October 2015 for Styling You’s #everydaystyle birthday party
I loved the hair salon which gave me that look, and I was really pleased with the condition of my hair afterwards – it’s like taking a big break from all-over blonde gave my hair a rest and recuperation holiday.
My biggest issue with my balayage was that it ‘threw warm’. This is my totally untechnical term for the way my mouse-brown hair always has more brassy notes when it’s lightened than cooler, creamier notes. This has the undesired effect of making my hair look dirty (even though I wash it every. damn. day.) and kinda trashy.
The way I dealt with this for the last year was to blonde tone the heck outta it, and hope that I just never had that silver rinse look that Bea and the Golden Girls rocked so well. It wasn’t until July that I finally found a blonde toning range of products that actually worked for my super-porous locks, and now I’m in love with the Marc Daniels Blue Cypress Blonde collection.
After two weeks of regular use of the Marc Daniels Blue Cypress Blonde shampoo, conditioner and toner, my blonde hair was so much creamier.
My thoughts on the Blue Cypress range? Well, firstly it really worked. I didn’t get that dreaded Violet Beauregarde shade at all, and the condition of my over-processed blonde ends definitely improved after regular use of the leave-in toner. All three of the products smell delicious (think a light Body Shop Dewberry scent, circa 1994 YUM!) and I really only needed to use them sparingly – no palm-sized dollops required just to lather up!
I also had the chance to hit up Marc Daniels Ambassador, Eugene Sokolovs from Gold Coast salon Ette Studio, to find out his top tips for keeping blonde fresh, especially as we head into Summer and all the coastal girls load on the fake tan and lighten our hair!
Eugene recommends using a quality toner on towel dried clean hair, such as Marc Daniels Blue Cypress Blonde leave-in toner to keep blonde in peak condition throughout the warmer months.
The best feature of this time-saving product is that it’s a leave-in treatment!
His biggest do’s and dont’s for blondes?
Regular visits to the hairdresser for colour refresh and cut, wash and condition hair regularly and use a treatment product such as Marc Daniels Blue Cypress Blonde at least once a week.
Blonde ombre and balayage hairstyles are still everywhere, what’s the latest spin on them for this Summer?
Balayage and ombré are still highly in fashion. For SS16, ‘Nude’ hair is popular, where there’s an even amount of warm and cool tones applied which cancel each other out to create a neutral colour.
The leave-in toner is now a hair essential for me – I won’t leave home without it!