All About The Avocado

avocadoOne of the things I like best about being back in a sunny climate is that I get to have an abundance of creamy tasty avocados in my diet. I’m in heaven! I used to always buy them in Ireland but they just didn’t taste the same– by the time they were “ripe” they were almost rotten yet hard? I still ate them as they’re so good for you, and I was grateful to even be able to find them there in the first place, seeing it’s hardly the climate for them.

Persea Americana

If you’ve ever seen an avocado tree you may be as fascinated as I am with their beauty. Those big tall tree’s with their long branches dangling these drops of gorgeous green velvety fruit called  “Persea Americana,” or what we call avocado.

I remember once when living in South Africa we went on holiday to Durban. The place we stayed at had this huge avocado tree just loaded with huge fruit that was falling off ripe and ready to be eaten. I’ll admit I couldn’t stand to see all the fruit going to waste on the ground– there was just so much of it– that I packed a good 10 avocados in my carry on to eat back at home in Capetown. My poor husband, he thought I’d lost it:-)

Avocados & Potassium

According to the USDA Nutrient Database  around 100 grams (3.5 oz) of avocado has about 485 mg of potassium — scoring higher than the very staple banana which has 422 mg. We need potassium in our diet to help protect heart from high blood pressure, to avoid muscle cramps and fatigue, dizzy spells etc. The recommended daily allowance is for potassium is  4,700 mg. With just 1 average avocado containing 975 mg you’re well on your way.

Why You Should Be Eating Avocado Oil

Avocados are high in fat, but they’re loaded with good heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. The majority of this fat is oleic acid, found also in one of my favorite oils, olive oil.

Olive oil is a staple in my diet I pour it on my food for flavor and added texture, or on my salads. I’ve only really started using avocado oil as a staple but I find it doesn’t really have much flavor so I usually combine it together with olive oil in my salads (totally optional to mix of course).

One of the main reasons to add oil to your salads is not just for flavor but to help your body absorb the nutrients in your plant foods. “Oil soluble” vitamins such as A,D,E, and K all need oil to help our body absorb them. The same goes for antioxidants and carotenoids.

Avocado is also an excellent choice for cooking as it has a high smoke point and is resistant to high-heat oxidation.

Avocado For The Skin

Avocado oil is high in vitamin E and Vitamin D making this a perfect oil to add to your skin care. It’s humectant properties add extra value to dry skin, mature and ageing skin, and even works as a good after sun oil adding moisture back to the skin. It leaves the skin feeling silky, luscious, and adds shine to dull skin. Avocados can also be used in a facial mask as well as in a hair oil.

You Either Love It Or Hate It

I haven’t really met anyone yet that doesn’t like avocados, except kids! My eldest daughter grew up in South Africa where they were in abundance. I found them to be perfect baby food. She didn’t like them initially though as I tried scooping it straight out of the skin. She would gag from the dense texture of them and refused to eat them plain. I decided to mash them up with banana and pear and that seemed to go down much better. She loves them now every which way. Strangely my younger two prefer eating them in slices rather than mashed in a guacamole. They too gagged a bit when first trying them out.

Texture is so important for children when trying out foods. I try to serve it to them in a variety of ways this way eliminating creating an unintended picky eater.

All this talk about avocado and I’m ready for my avocado salad!

xx Lara

 

To The Less Than Perfect Mom

I love being a mom, what’s not to love – that morning cuddle and good night kiss. That feeling of being needed by someone that is totally dependant on you, trusting blindly that you will be taking care of them. The laughs of funny words said while learning to talk, funny faces of flavors being tried for a first time. The fact that I get to watch this tiny thing that started out the size of a bean in my belly grow into a gorgeous person. The fact that I feel like a failure at times, but in my child’s mind I’m a super mom! What’s there not to love?

But suddenly there’s the daily routine that starts to get me down, the sleepless nights, the constant cleaning, the nagging…”eat your food”,”stop fighting with your sister”,”hurry you’ll be late for school”,”stop whining”, “no, you can’t have whatever you want from the store shelf”…etc, the list goes on, and I start to feel like a terrible incompetent mother because all I want to do is pass on my job to Supernanny!

Whether you’re a stay-at-home-working mom, or a career-working-mom, the highs and lows are pretty much the same. We feel guilty when those overwhelming feelings of frustration start taking over. I think I can safely say each and every mother out there feels this way at some point! We’re often made to think that just being good mother is not enough. The sooner we sit back and say “I am doing the best I can do” we get that second wind of courage and patience to continue this life long responsibility of motherhood.

To all you moms out there reading this who might be feeling tired, overwhelmed or frustrated…like I have been at times…and who need a little word of encouragement today, you are doing a brilliant job!

Being a mother fills you with joy and happiness, but it’s by far an easy job. The thing is, we can ever be perfect moms, only good moms. It may not be a salaried job, but its payment is pure honest love!

xx Lara

 

This Yogi Life

this yogi lifeMy personal obsession for yoga stretches further than inversions, down dogs, and lion’s breath! Instead it’s my daily cornerstone for finding peace of mind, balance, and strength as I set my intentions for the day preparing mind and body. My journey with it began long ago, but it only truly began a little while ago!

Going Through The Steps

I’ve always loved exercising, the sweat, the elevated heartbeat, the red flushed cheeks, the satisfaction of feeling good after, and the sore muscles the next day. I love it! Some people however really don’t like it, they dislike sweating, and find daily exercise a bore and a chore. Exercise isn’t always fun and does sometimes feel like we’re just going through the steps waiting for it to be over with. When I did my first yoga class way back then I was hooked, but I think I was more hooked on the motions and hadn’t quite begun seeing yoga for its true purpose.

My Yoga Journey

Yoga brings something different to everyone, the spirituality, grounding, balance, meditation, muscle tone, and flexibility. While the physical benefits are endless there are other aspects to take into consideration. Nowadays’ I think most people are looking for more than just a good workout, we want to feel mentally good, we want to feel happy and stress free as much a possible.

Over a year and a half ago I was in a very difficult and emotional state. I went through a few situations that made be feel like society was suffocating me. My views and morals of what makes me who I am were different to people around me, and I felt alone, misunderstood and desperate for a way out, or more for a way of relief. I started to doubt myself and what I stand for. There was a week of craziness which included a terrible argument with a good friend at the time followed by a neighbor down the street who tragically passed away. I will never forget that week!

I would say I’m a pretty happy person, I’ve had an amazing life full of adventure and good times, but going through this tough time made me see just how unhappy people can feel, and more than anything it helped me see just how important it is not to judge individuals, especially when you have no idea what they’re going through.

How I Found Peace And Strength Through Yoga

I only truly began to see yoga for what it really meant to me that one year and a half ago. I decided I needed to find my inner strength and peace and somehow I found it through starting a daily yoga practice at home. I think a home practice is totally overlooked and underrated, but that’s for another post! Practicing at home forces me to make it a part of my life,  it makes my house seem like a happy place as I’m surrounded by it while I breath in and out through my poses feeling great energy surrounding me! It keeps my mind grounded and gives me the desire for a more minimalistic life.

I’m sad to admit that I lost my daily practice a bit when we did this big move across the world and it definitely affected me. Some day’s have been pretty hard as I didn’t make the time to do yoga and find my inner peace. Sometimes a break is unavoidable, either because it’s not feasible at the time, or maybe it’s not working for us anymore and we need that break to find out. I all too quickly formed the habit again as I’ve seen how important it is to me. Yoga has me wrapped around its fingers! 🙂

How To Begin A Home Practice

One of the reasons why most people don’t start a home practice is they don’t have the yoga knowledge to begin with and need a teacher to lead them through it. Well this is the magic of the web. There are so many online classes to attend to and plenty of quality free stuff on YouTube to get you started.

Making a habit of a home practice also allows you the freedom of doing it in your own time, no excuses. You can do it as soon as you get out of bed, or right before you go to bed, when you come back from work, or something to do together with your children. I let my kids stand beside me while I’m doing it and they love joining in!

If you’re looking for somewhere to start I would highly recommend checking out “30 Day’s of Yoga with Adriene”.  She’s a teacher that I follow and recommend to everyone I meet who are either beginners or just looking to start a home practice yoga journey.

“Yoga is like music: the rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the perfect symphony of life”. –BKS Iyengar

I hope you’ll give yoga a try if you haven’t already.

Lara xxx

Hello From The Other Side

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Sorry I couldn’t resist the title 🙂

Happy New Year!

I know it’s been several months since my last blog post but let me explain why. Some of you may or may not have known that over the summer our little family did a major life changing move. We packed up house in Ireland and moved to Dallas, Texas! New country, new job, new house, new school, new everything.

It was a HUGE change…literally speaking. To name a few of the changes I’ll start with the extreme summer heat, to the 6 lane highways, to driving on the other size of the road, to huge vehicles on the road that look like they should be in a “monster truck show”, the long distances, massive houses, and did I mention tornado’s!!!!!

Welcome to Texas

They didn’t lie when they said everything is big in Texas!! I’ll admit it was slightly overwhelming at first coming from the quaint little Emerald Island to experience the sheer size of all things Texas. We’re getting into the gear of things now and are so excited with our new surroundings and feel blessed that life has steered us in this direction. I can’t get enough of the warm air, bright skies, swimming pools & bbq’s, spacious houses, the gorgeous crimson sunsets, and can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store for us!

Nobody Said It Was Easy

Has it been an easy ride? Not a chance. As with any big change things don’t just fall into place, they require pure dedication to wanting to make the change, the perseverance to make it happen, the courage to see through the hard days, and the patience to go through the settling in phase. Looking back at this year I can safely say it was a hard one but totally worth it. I always find it amazing how you can look back at a period in your life which you found hard and yet only remember the good times. Reminds me of childbirth!:-) A special thanks from me to my husband for putting in the hard work and time into making this move happen!! He’s tough as nails, and I love him for that!

Does Moving Get Any Easier?

I’ve been moving continents and countries since I was a baby. My first birthday was in India, we moved there when I was about 9 months old. From then on the life of a wanderlust/world traveler was my destiny. I love seeing what this gorgeous earth has to offer and to experience as many cultures as I can. You’d think that since I’ve done it my whole life it should be a piece of cake. Not really! I suppose it does come more naturally to me then it would to someone that hasn’t made a big move at all, but it’s still never easy and takes a lot of courage to step out of comfort zones and to start all over again. The hardest thing is leaving friends and family behind. Thank goodness for Facebook and Skype.

Change Is A Good Thing

Change is good for us though. I feel it makes me see things outside of the box. It helps me become a better person as I open myself up to learning something new instead of being stuck in my comfort zone. It makes me feel young and keeps my priorities straight. It has so many exciting benefits and opens up a whole new world with experiences and memories to treasure!

What change will you make this new year? No change is too small or unimportant in making your life or someone else’s a better place!

xxx Lara

 

Let It Go

Letting goIt’s in my nature to want to mend or repair something that’s been broken, it could be a physical item or something intangible.

The truth is some things just can’t be fixed or solved.

I sometimes lie awake at night thinking and stressing out about a certain situation trying to find a solution of how I can remedy the problem or “make it go away”. It’s not wrong to care or to look for solutions to a problem, but when things are out of our control we somehow have to find the ability to let go and trust that all will be okay.

This is a constant challenge for me.

As I get older life seems to throw bigger and trickier problems my way in a sort of test to see how I’ll cope. I’m not too proud to admit that I break, crumble, and cry as I’m only human, but each time it seems to make me stronger, more humble, and less judgemental.

It’s impossible to fully understand a situation unless you’ve gone through it personally.

When living in Africa I would always tell people, nothing can prepare you for Africa but Africa itself! The beauty, the pain, the poverty, the hardship, the thrill!

You can only truly understand what Africa is all about by experiencing it firsthand – and this is why in life we have to go through an experience in order to grow.

How To Let Go Of People Or Situations In Your Life That Doesn’t Serve You Anymore

Keeping your life under control is important to an extent, but we only experience emotional well-being and enjoy the beauty of the moment by letting go of what we can’t control.

A few way’s to start us on our path of letting is by practicing mindfulness, meditation or taking up yoga.  

If I were to name a 3 stage process that I fall back on when trying to get through a situation it would be summed up in this quote below:

“Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be.”

1. Accept what is:

We can’t change what just happened so we may as well accept that it did. By accepting the circumstance and knowing that none of it defines who we are, we allow ourselves to let go.

2. Let go of what was:

It takes a lot of will power to let go of something, a job, a friend, bad habits, expectations, false beliefs, rigid ways of doing things, etc…it’s so easy to hold on to them instead.

My daughter came home one day with a mindfulness exercise she learned at school. It’s a simple yet very effective letting go exercise for both young and old. I sometimes use this method when I’m up at night worrying and thinking about a situation.

Balloon Meditation Exercise:

Imagine you’re holding a balloon in your hand, in the balloon is all your worries, fears, a situations a bad habit, or anything that you’re trying to let go of. You can fill up a few balloons if need be. When you’re ready – let it go. Watch it float up into the air travelling further and further away. Watch it till it gets so small you can’t see it anymore. Relax your shoulders, your neck, and feel all the worry and fears and whatever is on your mind float up and away in that balloon. You feel light, at peace, and ready to move on.

3. Have faith in what will be:

Sometimes we just have to believe in ourselves and in our purpose, knowing that whatever happened or will happen is for a reason and for a bigger purpose or life lesson. Holding on to whatever it is only holds us back from our bigger purpose and from the divine roll we’re meant to play in this life.

“Each morning we are born again, what we do today matters most.” Buddha

xx Lara

How To Be a Bikini Goddess

 A beautiful body to me has always been about being strong, fit and healthy, not a skinny figure-less shape. But I’m just like any other woman,  deep down inside it feels like I need to attain that hour-glass, flab-free body, or else I won’t feel “qualified” to slip into a bikini. It seems that everywhere we turn these “perfect” body types are splashed right in front of our face on TV commercials, magazines, social media, bulletin board ads, even kids Barbie dolls for that matter. How can we not feel inferior?

But who am I fooling?  I know those “perfect” bodies I’m putting on a pedestal are only human and have concealed flaws just like any of us – hello Photoshop! Okay, I’m not talking about those gorgeous bombshell beauties who truly were blessed with flawlessness – I don’t know how they sleep at night! The rest of us mere mortals are left somewhat lacking. 🙂

What Does a Perfect Bikini Body Mean to You?

All the magic diets, potions, and pills in the world could not provide the answer we are looking for. If you were to ask me what a perfect bikini body means to me I would say it in one word alone…

CONFIDENCE!

Because confidence = perfect bikini body

No matter what body type you have if you strip down bare with confidence you will inevitably give off a beauty that bypasses any of your own perceived bodily flaws.

We all have them!

The 3 Step Bikini Confidence Program

It’s no surprise that gaining confidence comes with a bit of hard work and determination, just being born with it would be way to simple! 🙂 The biggest mistake most of us women make is not being happy with ourselves. We should accept that we’re not perfect and instead try to tweak a few things. We’re not trying to change our body to be perfect we’re only trying to get the confidence to feel good.

My 3 steps to gaining body confidence are: exercise, healthy eating, and skin care. Magic potions, diets and pills you are not on my list!

Step 1 Exercise

  • Aim to do 10-20 minutes of exercise everyday – even on the weekends.
  • Embrace the plank! It’s a wonder-working exercise that works the entire body. If you’re new to planking first learn how to align yourself in the proper position and then aim to hold in plank for at least 1 minute everyday. If you can squeeze in 5 minutes a day then you’re a champ!
  • When choosing an exercise plan go for quality rather than quantity. You’ll stick with it better, get less bored, and see better results.

Step 2 Eat Healthy

  • Forget dieting and starving yourself to get a skinny tummy, it’s all about portion control. Serve yourself a plate as if you were in a fine dining restaurant – remember they don’t serve seconds.
  • Avoid any and all carbonated drinks as this will only lead to bloating and orange peel skin.
  • Eat more brown rice! Brown rice is high in fibre which helps in eliminating unnecessary waste that is maybe being trapped in the body resulting in weight gain.
  • Please, please, oh please, do not forget to eat your complex carb’s. You aren’t doing your muscles or energy levels any favors by skipping out on the very needed carbohydrates your body needs for energy. Protein isn’t for energy, it’s for muscle growth and repair. If we leave out the healthy carb’s our muscles will suffer as protein will be used for energy instead. Our poor muscles will be left with very little nutrition.

Step 3 Take care of your skin

  • Healthy looking skin is so attractive and on the list for bombshell beauty. Drinking plenty of water will help your skin to look radiant and healthy, allowing you to look like a goddess on the beach!
  • Be sure to exfoliate your skin regularly to get rid of dead skin cells and improve circulation. No need for “air-brushing” your beach photo’s to make your skin look flawless…body brushing will do just fine!
  • Applying a natural body butter or body oil will make your skin look even more luxurious and it also gives added protection and moisture for your skin while in the sun allowing you to maintain a healthy looking glow.

Hello Perfect Body Goddess!

As soon as you start on my 3 Step Bikini Confidence Program you will undeniable start seeing changes in your body.  You’ll notice your legs looking more toned, your waistline sculpted, your posture improved, energy levels on the rise, and luscious looking skin. With all this you will now get that much need confidence to step into that little tiny bikini you felt “unqualified” to get into, ignoring all the small little imperfections you once thought were an issue, and you will now have that Perfect Bikini Body!

And you did it all on your own with basic healthy living!

“Confidence is beautiful, no matter your size, no matter your weight. Be confident in who you are and you’ll be beautiful! ” – Anonymous

xxx Lara

Honey & Oat Face Mask/Scrub

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Recently I’ve started a little “girlie” weekly ritual with my eldest daughter. She’s nearing her teenage years and has started getting interested in taking care of her skin and hair which makes this not only a great mom and daughter one-on-one moment but also a time to pass on a little skin care education! I’m glad that I started to take the time to do this with her as it also allows me the opportunity to be able to take care of myself.

This face mask/scrub recipe is so easy to make and with only a couple of ingredients which are usually always in my pantry – making this my weekly go-to recipe.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons  raw oats

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon rose petals (optional)

5 drops Geranium Essential Oil

Instructions:

(Option 1.)First you need to grind your oats and rose petals down to a fine powder. I usually always have a jar of ground oats for baking that I’ve blitzed in my food processor ahead of time ready to use when needed. To save time for your next facial you can also grind both of them together like I do in your food processor or even your coffee grinder and keep them in a sealed jar for future use.(Option 2.) Put the oats, petals, and honey into your pestle and mortar and grind away each time making a fresh batch.

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Next mix in your honey and essential oil. You should end up with a thickish paste. If it’s too think add more honey or a drop or 2 of warm water.

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Apply your mixture evenly to your face and leave for about 15 minutes. You can either wash it off with a warm wet cloth or gently rub your face with your hands before rinsing for a delicate face exfoliation. Dry your face and apply a moisturizer.

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There are times when I like to get all fancy with my concoctions either in the kitchen or with my handmade skin care recipe’s. Somehow having to hunt around for exotic sounding ingredients makes my project just that little bit more fun and amusing. I have to be in the mood for a hunt or with a latest obsession for trying out a very specific ingredient or else I’ll never get around to my project altogether.

To make sure that I do get around to doing my project most of the time I like to keep it real simple and easy and to use ingredients that I have right in my kitchen. Sometimes we over fancify things, thinking we’re making a superior product or dish to a recipe that maybe only has only 3 ingredients. The truth is that often the body can only absorb a few things internally and externally at a time so we’re basically wasting ingredients, time and effort.

For This Face Mask I Chose To Use:

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Properties of Honey:

Raw honey has anti-microbial properties that protect the skin and promote healing. Its antioxidant properties are known to help slow down the aging process.  It is antibacterial, anti fungal, and works to protect and moisturize. Honey is a humectant — a substance that draws moisture in.

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Properties of Oats:

Oats (avena sativa) have been used in skin care for centuries to treat eczema, insect bites, and skin infections. This is due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-itch, and anti-oxidant properties.  Oats contain beta-glucan – a natural compound that helps to reduce redness and skin sensitive reactions. Beta-glucan also helps treat acne, heal minor cuts and burns.

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Properties of Rose Petals:

I chose to use dry rose petals in my face mask as I love the gorgeous subtle smell, but it also works well to exfoliate, tone, and smooth the skin. Rose petals can be hard to find so I marked it as optional. You can also replace it for lavender petals as that is a lot easier to find.

Properties of Geranium Essential Oil:

Geranium Essential Oil (Pelargonium Graveolens) Suits all skin types. Balances not only mind and body, but also hormones, sebum (oil) production. Improves circulation, helps keep skin supple, enlivens pale skin. An astringent and anti-inflammatory.

 I hope you enjoy this quick and easy face mask/scrub. My skin always feels smooth and radiant each time! Gotta go, it’s facial time!

xxx Lara

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