Lying in with a lurgy – a few suprising products to nurse you through your cold

I have a little winter lurgy. One of those truly annoying ones that isn’t quite bad enough to get you out of work, but just bad enough to send you straight to bed when you get home. Ugh.

Needless to say, the last thing I feel like doing right now is sitting down to tap out the weekly post. I have, however, recently downloaded an app that scolds me when I don’t reach my weekly milestones, so I find myself at an impasse.

To take the sting out of soldiering on, I have decided to dial it down a notch and just share photos of some LLUF-approved products that are in my house for the purpose of providing sweet, sweet relief in moments like these. Such as Thursday Plantation Eucalyptus Oil.

Eucalyptus oil

Other than my bed, of course, this little bottle of strong-smelling goodness is my favourite possession in all the world right now.

Then there’s Ethical Nutrients Immune Defence tablets. Tastes weird, but I feel like it helps.

There’s also the essential super-moisturising body wash to help my skin withstand the longer, hotter showers I indulge in when I am sick. Natures Commonscents have just released their body wash range and they are divine.

Natures CS

And of course then there’s tea. Black tea, green tea, chai tea, peppermint tea. Realistically no hot beverage is off limits unless it requires lots of milk. I’m a big fan of a simple lemon wedge squeezed into a mug of water, or some diluted apple juice heated in the microwave as well.

Tea2

So there you have it. A few of my favourites. I hope they serve you well. And now I am off to bed.

Good news for people who love Sherbies and other Allens lollies…

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, Australia is reeling from announcements that Allens will be discontinuing a number of it’s lines so loved from our childhoods including Sherbies, jubes, spearmint leaves and green frogs.

Well, OK, noone cares about green frogs. But sherbies are a school camp staple, right?

But we can all relax. I have done my research (mmm, delicous research) and have identified a number of suitable substitutes which come with the added bonus of being made right here in Australia:

Sherbet Bombs

Not as soft, but delicously fruity and fizzy just like Sherbies.

Sherbert Bombs

Pascall Jubes

Not too hard. Not too soft. The perfect jube.

Bols Mint Leaves

Available at Kmart and at a ridiculously low price, you’re mad if you are not already using this identical tasting alternative.

With all these substitutes I won’t be suffering from Allens lolly withdrawal, but then again I started phasing Allens out of my diet in first year uni, along with all of Nestle’s other brands.

After hearing in first unit marketing about the devastating affects of Nestle’s aggressive campaigns to market infant formula to mothers in developing countries, it didn’t feel like much of a choice in the end.

I won’t harp on about the details – if you want to know more I suggest you start your own research here – but needless to say, a commitment to shopping ethical does not involve contributing to the profit margins of a company that is repeatedly accused of breaching World Health Organisation standards that are designed to reduce infant mortality rates in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities because they can turn a quick buck.

So maybe don’t mourn the loss of Sherbies, but rather look forward to a brave new world of more ethical (and equally delicous) options to explore. Mmmmm.

Top tips for staying warm this winter…

warm

This has been a cold, nasty week in our nations capital. On Monday morning I went into work at 10.30 and there was still frost on the gound!! Not just in the odd shady corner either. There were thick blankets of it laid out across the grass. Not. Good.

So my top tips for keeping warm?

1) Build some big woolley socks into your wardrobe. Eco-friendly, and with lots of Australian made options, socks will not only keep you warm but may also increase your chance of orgasm!!! Find out more here.

Tuff Mongrel Socks

2) Block up spaces around your windows and doors to help keep the heat in. Don’t have anything? That’s ok. Make your own door-snake with these simple instructions.

doorsnake1

3) Drink lots of tea. Comforting, delicous and warm. You’d be mad not to use the change in the weather to drink more. It’s also an opportunity to help lift people out of poverty, with 100’s of tasty fair-trade blends out there for the buying. See this post for some of my favourites.

tea

4) Make your own heatpack from things that are lying around the house when things get truly desperate.This easy little trick is a great substitute if no hot water bottles or wheat packs are on hand to soothe a sore body or add a little support to feet that are desperately trying to warm up.

So there you have it – the simplest, cheapest and most universe friendly ways I know to add a little warmth to your winter.

Now you’ll have to excuse me while I go back to Netflix and a massive cup of peppermint tea… maybe winter isn’t all bad 😉

Tricks for travel: how to pack a bag in a rush

Suitcase

I haven’t spent much time at home lately. Through a chaotic combination of interstate travel, opera choruses, and friends who have been left alone too long with screaming toddlers, I’ve essentially been living out of a suitcase for a month. Luckily I used to travel a lot for work, so I have packing for nights away down to a fine art.

The following tricks come in particularly handy if, like me, you have an adhoc approach to doing laundry, a largely mismatched wadrobe, and a propensity for waking up hungover on packing day. Sigh.

So what are my best tricks?

1) Have your toiletries already packed

I have a box of ‘holiday’ toiletries from which I can quickly grab what I need for a night or a few weeks away, whatever the requirement. This includes the following LLUF approved items:

  • Natio Tinted Moisturiser (SPF50) – because I spend more time in the sun and less time with make up on when I’m away;
  • MooGoo Fresh Cream Roll On Deoderant – I don’t travel with aerosols to expediate airport check in;
  • Small refillable bottles for shampoo, conditioner and body wash;
  • A lip gloss that can double as a creme blush; and
  • Sids and Kids baby wipes – supporting a cause close to my heart; making it easier to remove makeup after a late night out; and providing an emergency option for touching up an insufficiently cleaned hotel room

Toiletries

2) Always pack the basics first

Socks, jocks, pyjamas and always, always, always togs – just in case you get the chance to go swimming.

This leaves your mind totally free to focus on your outfits, without the fear of overlooking something important. Noone wants to be the family member who ends up in a blog post like this one by Mama Raj, which may or may not refer to Mr LLUF. He admits nothing.

3) Plug your phone into your charger so you remember it

We have all been through the traumatic experience of leaving a phone charger behind. Even if my phone doesn’t need charging I plug it in overnight, and when that alarm goes off in the morning I throw the phone and the charger into the bag straight away.

4) Always pack a book, a pen and paper

Lighter than a laptop, and not so hard on the eyes as a phone. Sometimes the old fashioned methods of entertaing yourself are the best. I like to use travel time as an opportunity to reflect, and write down some goals for my return to real life. But pen and paper comes in handy for many other things – including entertaining children if you are planning to be eating out with any families and actually want to be able to hold a conversation with the parents.

These tricks drastically reduce the impact that travel has on my stress levels – hopefully there’s something useful in here for you too.

A little taste of Northern Tasmania

The sun rises on a sleepy Sunday in Devonport Tasmania. It’s hours before I get up though. There is a frost, which is actually not that common in this part of Tassie, so everyone stayed rugged up in bed until the day warmed up to a ‘balmy’ 14-or-so-degrees. Mr LLUF and I have heard everyone rave about the new cafes about town all weekend, and on our last day we find some time to sit down with my darling mother at Laneway.

Laneway

I check my GPS to make 100% sure we’re not in Melbourne, as this hole-in-the-wall coffee house would not be out of place in the laneways of that great city across the Strait.

With a real nod to local produce they have some delicous options on their breakfast menu, most of which include generous servings of  Mt Gnommon bacon. If you fancy a picnic lunch to follow, locally produced small goods, cheeses and condiments are also available in their deli section.

After a quick cup of tea and some cuddles with my sister and niece, Mr LLUF and I start the trip to Launceston, where we will spend our final night before heading back to the ‘Berra.

Ashgrove

Along the way we stop in at Ashgrove Cheese Factory. Something of a ritual on our Tassie trips. We do a couple of free taste tests, and then agonise over how much of each cheese we can safely transport home. We end up prioritising suitcase space for the bush pepper cheddar. Mr LLUF’s absolute favourite, and for me it’s a close second to the Wild Wasabi cheese!!

Raspberry farm

After having filled our savoury stomach with cheese, we decide to stop off at the Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm to fill our dessert stomachs. Rapberry icecream with a complimentary dark chocolate coated raspberry has me in heaven, and Mr LLUF runs around tasting raspberry jams, sauces and vinegars and suprisingly only comes away with a bottle of raspberry wine and three jams. We got off lightly this time.

Boags

And then off to our final stop in Launceston for our very last activity. A tour of the historic Boags Brewery. This has been high on Mr LLUFs Tassie-to-do list ever since he first started making trips down here with me. And it does not disappoint. A self-confessed history nerd he gets lost in the beer-lovers museum, reading about the legacy of the Boags family, and the story behind some of their beers, such as the Wizard Smith Ale. I have to track him down with high-vis and safety glasses in hand to start the tour. We are visiting on a Sunday, so the brewery is not in operation, but our guide talks us through the process and then gives us three pots to try at the end – matching each to a locally produced cheese.

We thank our stars that we had the sense to stay within walking distance of the brewery and settle in for a good session with some new friends we’ve made during the tour.

Life doesn’t get much better than this.

Why am I so tired? A suprising answer.

Bed

Noticed a little inconsistency in my blogging lately? Two blogs here and then nothing for a few weeks?

Truth be told, I’ve been exhausted. Unbelievably, can-barely-drag-myself-out-of-bed-some-mornings, feel-hungover-but-I-haven’t-been-drinking tired. And as such, my my A-game hasn’t been anywhere for a long time!! I haven’t brought it with me to the blog, or to the community organisations I work with, or to my half of the house work (my poor hubby).

Given a long family history of depression I figured it was most likely a little ticking genetic time-bomb going off, but on the off chance it was something else I asked the doctor to do the standard gammit of blood tests. They say you should get them done every two years anyway, and it’s been a lot longer than that for me. And to my suprise it came back with something.

I expected it to be a thyroid thing at the very least (medical history prejudice again), but in fact I had a vitamin B12 deficiency – a vitamin important for brain function and energy production. Excited at stumbling across a solution so quickly, I eagerly asked the doctor what veggies I could eat to fix it – none. I was confused. All vitamins come from fruit and veggies don’t they?

After a short Google (not a verb, I know), I have come to understand – and kids, I wouldn’t recommend quoting this in a science project – that vitamin B12 is, well, kind of, sort of, but not exactly, the poop of a special kind of bacteria that grows in dirty water. We use clean water to grow our veggies, but animals still drink the dirty stuff. So the main source of natural B12 is animal products. Or something like that. I encourage you to do your own research if you are looking for the actual answer. I am a raconteur, not a medical scientist.

Anyway. Not being a big meat eater the Doctor suggested that I take a fairly sizeable dose of the Vitamin. I shan’t tell you what it was, because I don’t want this article to inspire people to take supplements at higher dosages than the label recommends without individual medical advice. But I shall tell you that I grabbed the first Australian made 1000mcg bottle of B12 I could find, although you can get lower doses as part of multi-vitamins and ‘stress formulas’.

When I first started to feel better I put it down to a coincidentally timed holiday, told myself the supplements were hippie voodoo, and stopped taking them. This led to a slow slide back to where we started. Within 4 days of getting back on the little pink pills I was feeling good. I’d forgotten I could feel that good. The extra energy, and the absence of brain fog was a very welcome relief.

Now of course, this is my experience based on individually tailored advice provided to me by a licensed medical practitioner. If anything my relapse and original reluctance are warnings against self-diagnosis. So don’t use this post as an excuse to delay a visit to the doctor if you need one. But if you are feeling a little run down, particularly if you are a veggo, give some thought to your own vitamin B12 levels.

The Fab 5: The best posts of the past year

 28 April marks the one year anniversary of All You Need is LLUF.

It’s been a year of little triumphs, terrible disorganisation and great support from my loved ones. 44 posts and over 700 visits later, I have chosen 5 of my favourites to share:

Number

The first post I published, detailing the four part philosphy designed ‘to minimise the impact that my love of pretty things has on people and planet‘, that All You Need is LLUF was born from.

about

Number

The most popular post about our delightful stay in Hepburn Springs, Daylesford – a beautiful little town in wine country Victoria which I highly recommend for couples looking for romance, families looking for fun, and just about anyone looking for the perfect spot to relax.

Fair Grotto - HSMR

Number

The first to go ‘viral’ … ok, so the term ‘viral’ might be a bit of an overstatement. This is the first to be shared on Facebook by someone else. In particular the lovely people at Taygra Shoes Australia who were excited to be mentioned in the post.

Family of Taygra

Number

 My Mum’s favourite post. And there is no higher seal of approval.

paper binders 2

Number

The one that won…or at the very least was a favourite of the blog Living Well Spending Less who allows other blogs to post their best spend thrifting ideas to their Thrifty Thursday page.

BeetrootThrifty ThursdaySpring onions

So there you have it. Five of the best. A big thankyou for sticking with me so far, and a toast to the year ahead Champagne

5 alternatives to giving chocolate this Easter

I’m no health nut. And I love chocolate as much as the next overworked, slightly hormonal woman who occassional eats her feelings. But I feel like there are so many more sweet treats in everyday life than there ever where when I was a kid. Maybe that’s just because my Mum doesn’t tell me what to eat anymore, I don’t know. But I don know that there are alternatives out there to giving chocolate:

1) Easter themed books

Like these appropriately themed second hand books collected from local op-shops and second hand book stores.

bunny books

2) Real eggs

Healthy and delicous, and pretty as well. Die your egg shells with food die, or for something more adventurous, try coloured devilled eggs.

Colored Eggs in Easter Basket - Free High Resolution Photo

3) A real chicken or a real bunny

There are plenty of homeless bunnies and chickens available for adoption through the RSPCA. Just remember that an Easter bunny, just like a Christmas puppy, is a lifetime decision. Be a responsible pet owner.

Rabbit

4) Toys

If real bunnies aren’t your bag perhaps you should consider a bag of toy bunnies, like this cute as a button carrot full of fairtrade bunnies.

bunnies

5) Hours of fun

Or sit down with the people you love, no matter what age they are and do some easter crafting. Be inspired by these 40 great Easter craft ideas.

craft bunny

Aussie products to get you through the Aussie summer!!

Bagara beach

Things are heating up here in Australia!! And it couldn’t come soon enough as far as I am concerned. Looking forward to wading in the ocean, long lazy days reading a book under a tree, a dip at the local pool… ah summer bliss.

But summer isn’t always bliss. Skin damage, heatstroke, and the blinding glare of the afternoon sun can leave you feeling a little ravaged. And who better to know how to help with this issue than some dinkie-die Aussies themselves?

So let me share with you some great Australian made products that can help you through the summer months:

Cool Cossies

Rival Swimwear is Australian made and has swimwear for everyone – from tiny tots having their first splash in the paddling pool, to Iron men looking for that perfect pair of budgy smugglers. Women who want to train seriously, or women who just want to look nice while they make a fool of themselves pretending to swim can both find something that works for them with this brand. In the interests of full disclosure, let me confirm that I fit squarely into the later category.

Sunscreen

Super Sun Protection

I love Hamilton Sunscreens Everyday Face Sunscreen. Provides you with high protection, and a sweet little tint to help you look your best. But they also have toddler sunscreen, and normal sunscreen, and spray sunscreen. Who new you could have so many types of sunscreen. They have recently upgraded their entire range to 50+, which seems crazy to someone who remembers her mother talking about how ridiculous it was that sunscreens were going up to 15+. But we got used to that, and now I always use 30+. I guess it’s just a matter of time before 50+ becomes normal too.

Gaia

A bit of pocket relief

In the height of summer I will have a face spray bottle by the bed, one in my handbag, and one in the fridge. It’s so nice when you are hot and flusted to cool down with a quick, sweet smelling spray. One of my favourites is GAIA Rose Otto and Lavendar Refreshing Toner, pictured below.

Good Quality Glasses

I have two pairs of sunnies that are about a million years old, and still going strong. So I am not in the market for a pair of Australian made sunnies myself right now. But if I were, the first three brands I’d hit up are:

  • Spotters for sports style sunnies
  • Glarce for high end fashion sunnies
  • Topheads for something cool and biodegradeable

 

Happy summer people!!

 

DIY dinosaur – stencils and directions for cooling up girls (and boys) clothing.

We know quite a lot of babies that are due in January. Some are little sisters to girls that were born in March last year, so they will be inundated with hand-me-downs; but others are first babies, making clothes a very appropriate gift. After hours of trawling through baby clothing sites (local and fairtrade, of course) I finally lost it.

Why – in the name of all that is civilised –  if baby clothes must be sold on line through seperate ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ pages, do the boys pages have to contain all the cool stuff?

Boys get trains, firetrucks, dinosaurs, spaceships. Do you know what little girls get?

%$#@ing butterflies.

Now I am not saying that girls should never be allowed to wear butterflies, and I think ruffled diaper covers are as cute as the next person does. But wouldn’t it be nice if our girls were encouraged from the day they are born to believe that being feminine is not all about lacey pants and fostering a love of quiet, safe, pretty things?

A simple way around this would have been to buy some ‘boys’ clothes for the anticipated girls – leaving it to their parents to team them with pink leggings or little headbands if they were concerned about having to explain to every new person they meet that “no, she’s a girl”.

But like I said – I lost it.

So instead I bought pink and purple organic cotton onsies from Willy Wagtail (an Australian made kids clothing line) and a jar of Permaset textile paint (also Australian made) and set to work to make some very cool onsies of my own.

Dinosaur_cut

First I drew a rocket, a pirate hat, and a dinosaur – frankly, 3 of the coolest things on earth – and cut them out to create a stencil.

After I had my little stencils, I placed an old diary inside the onsie to stop any paint seeping through, held the stencil over the front of the onsie and got to painting.

Dinosaur_paint

Now you might like to do something fancy – screen print, or whatever – but I just used a paintbrush I’ve had since highschool to brush the paint around. Can’t say I’m too disappointed with the results.

Onsies

Just in case you wanted to make your own onsies I have included an image of my stencils for you. Feel free to copy them, cut them up, and paint them onto the clothing of any child who likes cool things. Regardless of their gender.

Stencils