I’m A Tidy Person & Make No Apologies For It!

Mmmm….I’ve been thinking about this for a few days after hearing something on social media.  Another mum made a comment saying, that people who have clean immaculate houses are just not real people and that it could just be a persona for social media, compared to her house which she claimed to be a tip!  It was a general comment not made to anyone specifically.

Well this rubbed me the wrong way because I am a very tidy person, I clean my house every single day, and you can drop in any time and it will always look the same, tidy! I never have stuff lying around on every surface of my house, everything has a place, and you know what I am real! This is who I am this is what I do.  I’m not doing it to show off or impress anyone else, I’m doing it for me.  I am an organised person and my house is the same.  Having a tidy house gives me a sense of calmness and I find I’m not so stressed.

I’m just so sick of the word “real” being thrown around for every single thing.  If someone chooses to have a clean house then good on them, if it’s not a priority for other’s then that’s okay too.  The hashtag #Mumlife doesn’t necessarily mean a messy house, grubby kids and baked beans on toast for dinner. Why do we always glorify the not so pretty side and for those that make an effort with their home and food etc why isn’t that “mumlife?”.  There are night’s when we have baked beans on toast but it’s not every night. Everyone lives by different standards, which should be accepted and not put down.

I have two girls and for me it’s important that one of the many things I teach them is how to keep a house clean and tidy, how to cook etc, so one day when they venture off, they will have been taught how to look after themselves and the places they live in.  It’s something that I choose to teach them, it doesn’t mean everyone has to teach their kids the same thing I’m doing. Life isn’t one size fits all. 

I have anxiety issues, and if things in my life aren’t in order or tidy it effects me, so I always plan everything meticulously and I clean the house a lot, but as crazy as it sounds I actually enjoy cleaning.

I’m not a stepford wife, I do have day’s where I really can’t be bothered with cleaning or cooking and if the house is somewhat clean then that will do. There are days where I will sit down and watch a movie or catch up on some of my shows (that seem to take up all the space on the planner as I never get a chance to watch it).

So please don’t judge or label other mum’s no matter how they choose to live their lives.  I will never apologise for having a tidy house!

Ronell x

 

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Whoa Studios..is totally Whoa!!!


Whoa studios is the new family entertainment place to be in Auckland.  You can find the studio’s in Henderson.

They put on amazing shows for the kids. So if you are heading to the studios, there is no entry fee to go into the grounds.  If the kids just want to play on the playground then you only buy a pass for that, or if you are seeing a show then you pay to the see the show. The general admission cost is $25 for the show, child ticket holders also receive complimentary pass to the playground.  If you don’t want to watch a show then you can pay $10 for a child over 3 for an all day access to the park.  Under 3’s are free with a paying sibling. Then you sit back and buy a coffee and relax.


The park is great and our girls loved the Whoa Web, which is New Zealand’s only crocheted play net.  We tried to convince them to go check out other parts of the playground but nope they didn’t want to!


So whilst the kids are playing you can grab a coffee from The Grounds Restaurant/Cafe. The Grounds Restaurant is owned and run by Executive Chef Ben Bailey, and it was great to see him in action in the kitchen.  I love that you can see all the way through the kitchen, and it was busy, lot’s of hands on deck.  The reason for this is because everything is made in house fresh everyday, including the array of ice creams which include vegan ice creams as well.


The idea behind the restaurant is based around family eating so you order a few dishes and share, now don’t be mistaken in thinking that because it says “family” you will find chicken nuggets and chips on the menu…oh no!  There is no trace of that sort of meals anywhere, which I was rather pleased about.  You can order kids bolognese, cheese toasties, chicken tenders, etc.  It’s homemade wholesome food.


There is also a lovely little toy store in there, where you can buy merchandise and other toys and great seating areas inside to relax in.


It’s a wonderful place and we will certainly be back again!

Ronell x

Book Review – Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

small-great-things

Wow!  Where do I start with this book.  It is such a gripping story from the start.  Some parts of the book when it describes one of the main characters being a white supremacist and the things he did growing up made me a little uncomfortable, I just didn’t like it much.

Reading this story has stirred up some old feelings that I have, being a person of colour myself.  The thing is growing up in South Africa and going through the apartheid era it’s hard not to ignore or feel the pinch a bit when you come across stories like this.  I’m sure my memories are nothing comparable to others going back generations that had to grow up in the system.

From memory I only remember once when I was in high school, my family and I went to a beach in a white suburb and after we were there for a little bit we were told to get off the beach as it was for white’s only and we were not allowed to swim there.  After much heated words were exchanged we left.  I’m sure our parents and their parents before have many more stories than I do.

But the thing is these little things stay with you, and throughout your life you always deep down wonder if things are said a certain way or you are treated differently because of your colour.  I mean when I apply for jobs I have so much self doubt because I always think my name doesn’t sound Indian and it’s like a disclaimer that I should put on my CV, that I am Indian, which I know is absolutely crazy, but I can’t help feel that way.

It was this that came across in the book as well, throughout life Ruth had to make adjustments or try and blend in.  Reading this book you get to walk in the shoes of a black person and see what’s its like to live under the scrutiny of others.

The court case that follow’s in the story, I felt I was sitting there in that courtroom watching it all unfold.  I alway’s find with Jodi Picoult’s books they pull on all your senses that you can’t stop reading, and you become this silent character in the story.  The strength of the main character Ruth is astounding and everything she believes in she stands for no matter what the consequences are.

It was a brilliant story and highly recommend it, but it’s not hard to recommend one of her books.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Ronell x

Easy Bean & Corn Salad

bean-salad

If you’re looking for a quick and easy salad to throw together then this is it.  Perfect to take along to BBQ’s or to make a big batch at the beginning of the week and use for lunches.

Here is my recipe:

Easy Bean & Corn Salad

Ingredients

2 x cans sweetcorn, drained
2 x cans four bean mix, rinsed
1 x red capsicum
Red onion, finely diced
Cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
Cucumber, diced
1 x avocado diced
1 x bunch asparagus blanched then cut into pieces
Handful of coriander, chopped
Season with salt and pepper

Method

Put everything in a bowl and mix together!  That easy

Note:  The quantities above makes a very large serving, half the ingredients if you want a smaller amount.

Enjoy!

Ronell x

Salty Caramel and Chocolate Christmas Cracker Recipe

snapseed-11

Since making this and posting a photo I have been asked a lot for the recipe.  These Christmas crackers are so easy to make and they are perfect for gifts or as a plate.  I made these for my girls shared lunch at school, and used candy cane as the toppings. The toppings you can add are endless.

Recipe

Serves 25+

Ingredients

  • 100g plain salted crackers (I used Huntley & Palmers Cream Crackers Original)
  • 225g butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 250g Whittakers Dark Cacao chocolate block (at least 60% Cacao and above is good), roughly chopped
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
  • 1/4 – 1/2  cup dried cranberries

Method

  • Preheat the over to 190 deg C.  Line a 22cm x 33cm shallow baking tray with baking paper.
  • Place the crackers in the base of the tray without overlapping, so they cover the base, breaking them to fit if required.
  • Melt the butter and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring well, until it bubbles and is combined.
  • Remove from the heat and pour immediately over the crackers as evenly as possible. Place in the preheated over for 8-10 minutes or until bubbling all over and the caramel is starting to darken.
  • Remove from the heat and sprinkle the chocolate over evenly, then return to the oven for a further minute or until the chocolate has just melted enough to spread. Using a spatula or palette knife spread the chocolate evenly so it is smooth on the surface.
  • Sprinkle over the pistachios and cranberries and leave until the chocolate is just set before cutting into pieces.
  • Store the crackers in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Recipe courtesy of Dish Magazine

Enjoy!

Ronell x

Let Kids Get Bored

School’s out which means we are probably going to hear, “Muuuummmm, I’m bored!” a lot. Well, we are day 3 into the holidays and it is fair to say I have heard it a few times today already.

I am all for going on trips and being out and about from time to time.  But the thing is, it is bloody exhausting and can be expensive too if you choose activities that you have to pay for.  I have said to my girls I am not employed by them as their school holiday project planner, where each day there needs to be an activity planned.  There are a few parents out there that feel their kids need to be entertained every day in some shape or form.  Not me!

I make sure we have a few days every week where we are at home with nothing planned, yes the girls moan like it’s the end of the world, but boredom in children sparks creativity and imagination.  I also take away any devices. If we are always creating scenarios/activities for them, then their brains are just not getting exercised at all!

Growing up, we never did much activities where my mum had to drive us somewhere in the school holidays.  The neighbourhood kids all got together and played, whether it was baseball in the back fields or riding bikes.  My brother and I used to set up these obstacle courses in our yard and race each other, the amount of games we used to come up with where endless with whatever we could find in the house or yard.

imagination

You might think to yourself, “oh I’m such a lazy/bad parent”, especially when you see other families doing so much stuff with their kids, but, YOU ARE NOT because you are giving your children something priceless, the opportunity to be creative and learn with play.

Don’t get me wrong going out and doing things is great fun, but it doesn’t need to be everyday or all the time that your children become dependant on it.

So go forth parents and let them be bored!

Ronell x

The Makeup Hot Seat Q & A Part 2

Continuing on from last week’s Q & A session, today I would like you to meet Asrin, she is a freelance NZ makeup artist based on the North Shore of Auckland.

I have fired off some questions to her and here are the answers!

  1. How did your love of makeup begin?

I was never allowed to wear makeup until I turned 19, and it really is true what they say – the more restricted you are from something the more you want to rebel! I always admired the makeup of the “pretty girls” at school and also my small circle of friends, who were and still are very talented with makeup. I began with threading my eyebrows and wearing mascara, from then on I experimented with more products and looks until I got to the stage where I basically wore a full face of makeup everyday! From here on, I did makeup for many friends and colleagues – so much fun working different looks and different faces!

I say this often, my makeup routine in getting ready is quite seldom more enjoyable than the event I am getting ready for – I guess that says a lot about my love for makeup. However, nothing makes me happier than the reactions and gratitude I get from my clients and quite often their families too – it’s pretty special and keeps me super passionate about my makeup career. 

2. How important is a good skin care routine?  And what is yours?

Makeup takes it toll on the skin, especially with different skin types and sensitivities so the importance of skin care can’t be stressed enough. I like to keep it simple – cleanse, exfoliate, moisturise! 

3. What is your favourite go to makeup product?

This is probably the most difficult question for a makeup addict to answer! The most important features on the face for me are the eyes & eyebrows so my favourite product would have to be Anastasia Beverly Hills brow dip pomade. 

4. Can you share any tips for beginners that are getting into makeup (like myself)?

Number one and up most important – take care of your skin! Never go to bed with makeup on and moisturise at least 1-2 times a day. Don’t try to look like anyone else, find the features of your face that you love and use makeup to enhance them, not change them.

Experiment with cheaper products until you feel confident and comfortable and then try the more expensive products. Makeup is not a cheap hobby! Always start light, you can always add more if you want a more dramatic look but it’s harder to go the other way. 

Keep it simple, don’t let complicated tutorials put you off trying new things but always remember that what suits you best is what you feel most comfortable in. 

5. I’m a busy mum like many others, who are short on time, what’s a quick makeup look that we can throw together?

Everyone is different when it comes to makeup they can’t do without. For some, it’s lipstick, for others it’s concealer. Start of with these products and then depending on how much time you have, add something that compliments it. For example, if you’ve put on a full face of foundation but don’t have time to contour, add a bit of your favourite blush.

My favourite “quick fix” makeup look includes primer, foundation, blush, brow dip, mascara and lipstick. 

6. As each year passes, makeup trends come and go, what trend do you think might stick around for a bit?

Contouring, winged eyeliner & thick eyebrows – no doubt. 

7. What’s your makeup pet peeve?

Getting my winged eyeliner on both eyes to match perfectly!

8. Lastly, what’s your favourite makeup decade?

The 1950’s Marilyn Monroe era – cat eyes, winged eyeliner & red lipstick – absolutely love this look and it will probably never go out of fashion. 

Thank you Asrin x

You can find the link to Asrin’s social media page’s here:

Facebook – Asrin Hussein Makeup Artist

Instagram – @asrin.makeup

Hope you enjoyed this Q & A series!

Ronell x

An Alternative to Traditional Garlic Bread

It’s the season which brings along lots of entertaining and that means lots of food. 

This weekend we hosted our first Christmas catch up with friends and instead of the traditional garlic bread which can be a bit heavy and greasy, I tried something a little different. 


I used a pack of wraps and you can get all sorts these days in the supermarket. Then spread over a bit of garlic butter, crushed fresh garlic and a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese. 

I grilled these in the oven keeping an eye on them the whole time as they brown quickly. Then used a pizza cutter and cut them up in wedges. 


The end result was amazing. They were light and crispy and full of flavour. The kids even gobbled these up!! Fair to say these were a hit. 

So give this a go at your next party or take a plate of these with some dips and you’re set!

Enjoy!

Ronell x

The Makeup Hot Seat Q & A

Today I would like you to meet Julie from Julie Bres Makeup.  Julie is one of our talented New Zealand makeup artists who has been working in the industry for over 10 years now. She does a lot of work with film/TV, fashion shows, as well as many beautiful brides.

So I fired a few questions to Julie in regards to makeup and here is what she has to say!  I should say it’s good to see her Irish humor coming through in the answers!

  1. How did your love of makeup begin?

My 1st memory of loving makeup was when I was 6, my mum got a free lipstick with a magazine that she bought and she let me keep it.  I wore it on my lips, eyes and even blended it into my cheeks and even my cat got some of it to glam her up!

My mum didn’t like makeup nor have much make up at all.  So when she would go for dinner or a night out with my dad I would insist on “doing her up” with her bare essential make up bits and pieces.  By the time I was 9 she never did her own makeup – it was always my job on a Saturday evening to get her looking lovely. That feeling of making someone else feel beautiful just with a few flicks of mascara or lippy got me hooked.

2. How important is a good skin care routine?  And what is yours?

If you feel like your skin is glowing, you don’t feel like you need much else, right? So yes, skin care goes hand in hand with makeup.  I cannot tell you how many people I’ve put make up on whether it’s a wedding, a tv show or a fashion shoot and they’ve come to me with dry or oily or irritates skin that they havent dealt with and an hour alter its flaking off and looking a bit sad for everyone.

The makeup products sit better on healthier skin, and last longer throughout the day.  Just plain and simple.  I don’t go overboard – cleansing wipes are a godsend (thank you super genius whoever invented them) or a gentle cleanser; Micellar water is wonderful and a nice toner before bed time sets us up well for the next day.

I love the Trilogy range, it’s a kiwi brand, I trust it on myself and use it in my main kit for my clients too.  I also use it a lot on talent on set and it has something for every skin type with a price tag to suit every budget.  In NZ a high SPF in your daytime moisturiser really is necessary on ALL skin types – not just pasty Irish folk like me.

So I’m never ever with out at least a SPF 30 on my face, winter, summer or indoors!  Aircon dries you out.  Neutrogena, Dermalogica and Arbonne have great new lotions and potions for skin aswell which I’ve just bought and haven’t had the time to use properly.

This summer I’m being ardent in keeping my breakouts to a minimum by looking after my skin better.  We all fall asleep sometimes with our makeup still on – it’s not laziness it’s just busy-ness, but I’ve left my new facial wipes by my bed and it’s working.  I’m using them!

3. What is your favourite go to makeup product?

Can’t go wrong with a decent lip balm.  Whether it’s Carmes, Blistex, Vaseline or a tinted Chapstik…fresh healthy lips look just great.

4. Can you share any tips for beginners that are getting into makeup (like myself)?

Don’t get conned into buying super expensive makeup that is a flash in a pan. Avoid YouTube tutorials!!! Pleeeease! If it’s a dress up party and helps you achieve a Cleopatra look, well that’s great!

But seriously…steer clear of 97% of them – unless it’s a blogger who is YOUR age and your cup of tea.  They are the bain of a makeup artists life, yes they can make themselves look like a Kardashian but have they worked on anyone else but themselves and have they walked around in that look from 8:30am until 5:30pm? I doubt it!!!

Avoid drawing comparisons with your look to anyone else.  “Be yourself…everyone else is taken” (best quote ever by Oscar Wilde).

5. I’m a busy mum like many others, who are short on time, what’s a quick makeup look that we can throw together?

My golden trick is – A good dash of tinted moisturiser (with SPF!!) a nice flick of mascara and a touch of lippy; be it just a lip balm or a nice strong colour.  That should take about 90 seconds.

BUT…If you have a rare 3-4 minutes to get ready you could add a swish of blush or bronzer across your cheek apples and temples, a warm sliver of eyeshadow across the lid followed by a quick brown/black/grey liner in the outer eye line going slightly into your lower lash line (crescent moon shape) for a nice hint of definition and then race out the door!

6. As each year passes, makeup trends come and go, what trend do you think might stick around for a bit?

I think a bold lip has always been a makeup look that’s persevered throughout the ages.  In the 1920’s there was the partly blocked out edges of the biba look, and the 1950’s  brought round the stunning red lip of the Hollywood starlets which still endures to this day. I love how lots of folks are experimenting with strong, bright and even ombre (blended) colours on the lips.

7. What’s your makeup pet peeve?

Foundation that clearly DOES NOT match/suit the person’s skin tone that stops at the jaw line! Eeeek!

Nothing wrong with looking paler/more tanned than your natural self at all.  But blend…blend….then BLEND some more!

Makeup on-screen certainly doesn’t end at the jaw line, its brought right down the neck, often slightly into the hairline or behind the ears depending on the character/models outfit.

8. Lastly, what’s your favourite makeup decade?

For me, it’s probably the 1960’s, the thick kohl eyeliner was becoming a daily staple and women were becoming more daring with their sense of style, adding pale lips and beauty marks to set them apart from their perhaps slightly plainer (sorry!) mothers of the 1930/1940’s.

Thank you Julie x

You can find the link to Julie’s Facebook page here:  Julie Bres Makeup

Hope you enjoyed this Q & A series, I will have another artist share her thoughts next week!

Ronell x

The Evolution of Makeup

The makeup industry is ever evolving, there are new trends out all the time, it’s hard to keep up sometimes.  I have recently taken a bit more interest in makeup and how I wear it. I’ve always loved makeup but I was one of those girls that never really had a massive collection of loads of different shades of eyeshadow and lipsticks etc, I just had a handful of neutral colours that worked with my skin colour.  Even to this day it’s not a big collection, purely because I went with what I know and stayed safe I didn’t want to experiment too much, but hence I’m starting to explore this a bit more. As you can see below that’s the extent of my makeup!

img_8563

I have ordered a new eyeshadow pallet which I am really happy with from Mellow Cosmetics and I cant wait to start using it.

img_8364

I alway’s thought I knew a lot about makeup, but after watching a few tutorials online, I realise just how little I know.  It’s not as simple as slapping on some foundation, loose powder, mascara and lippy!  Oh no, it’s all about contouring and highlighting now, plus there are so many different products that offer different looks and even the type of brushes we use are endless.  It’s a lot to take in especially if you are unfamiliar with it all, I mean where do you start?  I guess it’s all trial and error.

So with my realisation of how little I know I was curious about makeup and how it has evolved over so many decades.  I started to dig a little on the internet to see what I can find I looked through all the decades and read all about it and thought I would share a snapshot of each one with you and show you how far we have come with makeup.

1910’s

1910

During the 1910 era World War 1 was near so women wearing makeup at this time was taboo.  The makeup trend was limited to pink cheeks, small amounts of lipstick and vaseline on your eyelids were all that you could wear.

1920’s

1920

In this decade things really changed, it was the flapper era!  Foundation that was worn was a very pale shade.  The lipsticks where a deep red shade with a distinct bow-shaped application. Kohl eyeliner was used, and they didn’t hold back either (I think they were making up for the decade before) it was applied really heavily.  Lots of rouge (blush) was applied only on the apples of your cheeks in a circle.  Shorter hair especially the finger wave style was in too.

1930’s

1930

In the 1930’s foundations were more of an ivory hue and applied heavily.  Eyebrows were very thin and had high arches.  The cat’s eye effect with eyeliner had started out.  Lipstick colours were deep reds, maroons, browns & raspberry.

1940’s

1940

During 1940 World War 2 took place, which meant a lot of the women were expected to put their best face on and head to the workplace. But because of the war makeup was rationed and there was not a lot of options.  Fuller eyebrows were back, makeup was lighter giving a more natural look.  Mascara and eyeliner were used but very sparingly and red lips made a comeback.

1950’s

1950

The war was over which meant makeup was back in full force and there were no shortages. This era’s makeup was inspired by so many great Hollywood leading ladies, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Ava Gardner!  Foundations were applied thicker smoothing out the skin and covering up imperfections.  Thick dramatic layers of eyeliner and mascara was used.  The cat eye effect was back.  Lipsticks were bright reds or cherry.

1960’s

1960

Well this decade was flipped on its head!  Famous model at the time Twiggy, set off a few trends.  Red lips were out, it was more nude lipsticks during this time.  Foundation was lighter and blending of different shades of eyeshadow became popular.  Vivid eyes were in and applying mascara thickly on both your top and bottom lashes was created.

1970’s

1970

The 70’s era brought a whole lot of stuff to the table.  The big thing was tanning as well as lot’s and lot’s of bronzer!  SPF products were introduced in the 70’s and more women started to work on their skin care routines. In the 70’s the approach was less is more in terms of makeup and women opted for more natural and nude colours.  Long feathered hairstyles were also huge, you can thank Farrah Fawcett for that one!

1980’s

1980

This decade everything about it was big! Big hair and bold colours.  In regards to makeup so much was around at the time I think it was more like lets put it all on and see what happens!  The 80’s were influenced a lot by music especially with the likes of Madonna, Cyndi Lauper and Boy George.  Concealer was used to hide imperfections with foundation on top.  Bright eyeshadow were applied and sometimes even clashing colours. Blush was huge giving people crazy cheekbones and bright shades of lipsticks were used.

1990’s

1990

 

When this decade came around I think, everyone took a step back and thought, “whoa time to tone it down a bit!”  This decade was influenced by the catwalk, when the Supermodels graced the covers of most magazines and TV commercials.  The 90’s was an all over very natural and nude look.  Eyebrows were shaped and defined.  Eyeshadow was blended but more to the natural tones and mascara and eyeliner were used sparingly. Blush was used but again to more natural toned down colour.  Don’t forget the 90’s also saw the Gothic look with dramatic eyes and pale foundation, but not many opted for that trend.

2000’s

2000

Everything about this decade was all about shine!  From shimmer eyeshadow to lip gloss.  Lipgloss in every colour was all the rage.  Botox was also in and spray tans!  This decade saw the rise of trout pout everyone was getting their lips plumped or if you couldn’t afford that then just pout when you’re getting your photo taken.  Foundations were a little heavier and browner to give you a sun kissed look.

2010’s

2010

Since we are still in the current decade I’m not sure where the trends will go.  Now there is contouring to give your face shape and highlighting to give you that dewy look.  You could either go for a heavy matte foundation look as well.  Fuller eyebrows are definitely in and bold eyes.  False eyelashes are all the rage now, but I have never tried them myself.  Matte lipsticks and lip paints are also in.  I think makeup in this decade is more adaptable, you could go either way heavy and dramatic or light with a dewy look.

I thoroughly enjoyed looking through all the different makeup trends through the decades and I hope you enjoy it too.

Do you have a favourite decade?  Which is it?

Over the next few weeks I will be featuring some of our very talented New Zealand make up artists who are going to shed some light on makeup with a little Q&A.   So stay tuned!

Ronell x