Almond meal & orange Christmas cake
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This year I wanna bring something gluten free to the Christmas table so I set out to create a fruit cake made with almond meal and it turned out absolutely delicious!! It’d actually make the perfect gift for a kindy teachers morning tea but we couldn’t help but try it first.


INGREDIENTS |

700 g mixed dried fruit, I used raisins and sultanas

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract or paste

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

zest and juice from 1 orange, juice from a second orange (for after the cake has cooked)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

30g butter

5 organic eggs

2.5 cups ground almonds

50 g walnuts

HOW TO |

1. Soak your dried fruit, pop the fruit in a bowl and cover in boiling water for 15-30mins then drain.

2. Preheat your oven to 170°C on bake.

3. Prepare a 20 cm round cake tin with baking paper lining the sides and the base.
4. Combine dried fruit (make sure it’s well drained), cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, orange zest and juice, olive oil, eggs, soft butter, almond meal and walnuts in a bowl and mix well.

5. Spoon Christmas Cake batter into your baking tin. Smooth out the top using the back of a spoon and make sure there isn’t any gaps, you want the mixture packed in well.

6. Bake for an hour. Check with a skewer to see if it comes out clean, if not bake for another 15 minutes and check again.

7. Once cooked through, remove from oven, and poke small holes on the cake, pour the juice of the second orange over the top and leave to soak though the cake.

8. Leave to cool, then remove from the tin, sprinkle with roasted slithered almonds and top with candied of dried orange. 

To serve add whipped cream or coconut yoghurt. YUM! 

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#crazyinlove
vincent

“Vincent” - My 4th Bali tattoo, I got this while on a ‘Mum’s gone wild’ holiday with a girlfriend. I returned home to Vinnie with his name tattooed on me, I told him it was his present “for our three year anniversary”, he thought I was crazy but I’m sure it’s not the first time he’s thought that!

It’s been nearly two years since my last tattoo, I feel like I might need to add to my collection soon. The hardest thing is choosing what to get and where… Any ideas? 

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#socialsunday 1

Nine cool things I did over the weekend, instead of scrolling on instagram.

  • Had pancakes for dinner and watched a movie with Cas - this is our new Friday night tradition, we just started it. YAY! I’ve always wanted a tradition but I’m pretty sporatic so we’ve never had one, but now we do. We found a family movie for both of us and stayed up until 9pm and then we went to bed at the same time - it was the best!

  • Rented a bike and went for a ride along the foreshore in the sunshine with Cas on the back of the bike. He was saying “Mama this is so much fun!!!” and had the biggest grin on his face the whole time. It was probably the best.

  • I watched Minimalist, the documentary, It’s really really good. I’ve actually seen it before but well worth another watch and it got me thinking about minimising again. Goodness, stuff just stresses me out. I love a clear space, I find less things create less clutter in my mind - it’s like with less stuff around me I can see clearer, breath deeper and feel freer.

  • Did something for someone else. I went over to Mum’s house and help her clear out her wardrobe. I helped her earlier this year but she needed to do another clear out and i knew she wanted my help so I set aside time to pop over and help her.

  • Played all the lego. I hear all the time “Mama, wanna play Owen and the dinosaurs” - Cas loves his lego and he loves playing out little games with the characters. Normally I don’t play. I’m boring and find myself all too often saying, “yea just after I’ve done the dishes” or “I just need to send this email”. So I allowed myself to imagine and play.

  • Went for dinner at my brothers house. Isn’t it funny how you can live so close to people and get so caught up in your own life that you don’t speak to or see each other?! I’ve lived in New Plymouth for coming up three months now and I think I’ve seen my brother and his family like once or twice - I normally see them that amount when I’d come down from Auckland to visit for a weekend. we cooked fresh fish, the most amazing roasties and a beautiful salad. It was so nice.

  • Had a bath. Can you believe I’ve lived in this lovely home, WITH A CLAW BATH, and haven’t even had one. Well this weekend I had two, one with Cas, he’s been asking me ever since we moved here and then I also had one by myself - bliss.

  • Spent time, listening to music, thinking, dreaming and I would say pondering my life. After all I am 31 this week. Because we’re at the end of our “10 week saving holiday” AKA spending time helping my Mum and we don’t really have a plan I actually allowed myself time to dream about what i might like to do next. I don’t have a plan but I do have some exciting ideas.

  • Made a daisy chain on the deck in the sunshine while listening to music and Cas was enjoying watermelon - it really is the simple things that get me.

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2 ingredient pancakes
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These babies just overtook my ‘everyday pancake recipe’ because all you need is TWO INGREDIENTS and they are SOOOO DELICIOUS — with food this good I kinda feel like I’m cheating this cleanse but the fab news I’m absolutely not and I haven’t felt at all like I’m missing out! ♡

RECIPE | 

1 banana

2 eggs

optional, but i like to add 1 teaspoon cinnamon 

METHOD | 

Pop all ingredients in the blender and blend on low until all mixed up. 

Heat up ya pan and add a little coconut oil — I find cooking them on a medium-highish temp works well and they cook super fast.

Cook until golden and flip.

With the banana they’re naturally sweet so there’s no need to top with maple syrup but they’re lovely with coconut yoghurt, berries and cacao nibs.

Thanks to my babe @beingwell_ for the the recommendation!

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Reducing plastic, WORK IN PROGRESS
 
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I’m not really one for making grand commitments anymore (aside from marriage, that’s an exception!) so I haven’t committed to the full Plastic Free July, it feels a bit overwhelming for me right now....

That doesn’t mean I don’t care or I’m not doing anything, for me reducing plastic is an everyday work in progress kinda thing.  Every day I do what I can, nothing that overwhelms me, I don’t need more stress in my life, but I know that every bit counts.  Here’s just a few things I use day-to-day, they’re simple and have been easy for me to transition to like switching out plastic cotton buds for ones that are made of bamboo. I carry all the reusable things in my bag/car—spoons and straws, reusable coffee cup, drink bottle, bags and baskets. I love bubbly water so I invested in a sodastream machine, I also check the labels of clothing and like to choose natural fibres like linen/cotton/wool over plastic fibres like polyester and nylon.


When people ask me what they can do I always encourage them to choose two things they’re passionate about, my first two were not using plastic bags and swapping my plastic toothbrush for a bamboo alternative, and once your first two things fit seamlessly into your life then you add in another and then another.  Take it slow and let them become your normal, this isn’t a quick fix kinda thing, we’ve gotta be in it for the long haul and changing habits takes time and practice.

I also think it’s important to inspire and encourage rather than shaming or putting down others, you never know what others have going on in their lives and I like to believe we'll all there there some day.

It’s been a few  years in the making but the things I’ve adopted to reduce my plastic consumption come naturally to me now and if one day I forget I don’t beat myself up or give in, I let it slide and keep doing my best, whatever that means on that day. Be aware, be kind and start where you can.

My real butt
 
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I overheard a convo in Bali that really stuck with me, a couple of gorgeous girls were saying "you know what I just don't even know what a real butt looks like anymore after all these tuned insta butts on my feed".  So here it is, my real butt.  Some days I'm a little self conscious about it, weirdly more so in a shorter skirt that in a bikini, but just incase you too have forgotten what a real butt looks like here's my version, soft, curvy, dimpled and peachy!

And who doesn't love a good before and after? I just wanted to add the before (on the left) to show you that I didn't apply my filter to hide anything, if anything bringing up the shadows makes it look more dimpled/like real life. Lots of love XO 

Last minute getaway
 
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On Thursday Cas and I were hanging out when we spontaneously decided to book flights to New Plymouth, we packed out bags and called Vinnie to tell him we were off on our way out to the airport, I love last minute getaways like this, totally in the moment.  We've been to the beach every day, ate lots of delicious food and walked all over town, I actually love hanging out with him when I don't have work to do and can just spend time with him.  Can't wait to go back! XO

Coconut Double Caramel Slice
 
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If you know me, you know I looooove caramel.  Ever since I was a little girl it’s been my ultimate indulgence but I never got why they added chocolate to the top of a caramel slice?  Maybe I’m a little weird but I’d rather pass on the chocolate and give me extra caramel sauce – Surely I can’t be alone in this!  So in collaboration with Countdown I’ve created my ultimate ‘healthier take’ on a traditional caramel slice (with double thick caramel)!  To celebrate three of it’s main ingredients (Macro organic tahini,  Harraways organic oats and Macro organic coconut oil) being on price lockdown I’ve also made a little video to show you how simple it is to create!

 

 This baby is plant based, raw and free from refined sugar. 

INGREDIENTS

for the base

2 pinches sea salt

3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

3 Tbsp rice malt syrup

1 ½ cups oats

1 ½ cups dedicated coconut

2 cups cashews


for the caramel

3/4 cup cacao butter, melted

3/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1 cup cashews

3 cup dates, soaked in hot water min 20mins

1 cup coconut milk

3 Tbsp tahini or peanut butter

1/3 cup rice malt syrup

3 tsp pure vanilla essence

2 tsp sea salt


METHOD

1.     Soak dates in boiling water, put aside while you make your base.

2.     In a high speed blender, or ya Mum’s food processor form the 70’s will do, add all of your base ingredients, blend until all mixed together, you may need to stop and mix it up with a spoon and scrap down the sides.  Blend/blitz again.  When it’s all finished the mixture hold its shape.

3.     Evenly spread out the base mixture in a tin, ideally lined with baking paper. Pack the mixture in so it’s really tight.  I like to dip my spoon in a cup of boiling hot water and use the back of the hot spoon to help make it really nice and smooth.

4.     Pop the base in the freezer while you make your caramel.

5.     Pour all of the caramel ingredients into the high-speed blender or food processor excluding the dates (keep them soaking) and blend/blitz, stopping and scrapping down edges every now and then. 

6.     Once it’s all nice and smooth add the soaked dates but don’t add in the water they’ve been soaking in, that would make it too runny.  Blend/blitz for a good few minutes.  Stop to scrape down the sides.  If it’s taking awhile for the mixture to become smooth give your machine a break so it doesn’t over heat.  You want this mixture to be really beautiful and smooth like silk.

7.     Take the base form the freezer and pour the caramel on top.

8.     Pop the tin back in the freezer and leave overnight if possible, minimum 6 hours.

9.     Remove the slice from the freezer and cut into your preferred shape – I like mine in bite sizes.

10.  Keep in the freezer.  Best enjoyed outside in the sunshine with friends or after dinner with your lover and a comforting cup of tea.

You’ll find the organic macro tahini (or the organic macro peanut butter), organic macro coconut oil and Harraway’s organic oats are all on price lockdown at your local Countdown.

 

If you make it let me know what you think!

AL XO

Pai, organic skincare for sensitive skin + giveaway.
 
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Babes, there’s been a lot going on around here lately, with Mama being unwell and in hospital, our next gorgeous baby taking her sweet time, me starting work 30 hours a week plus we got our bunny, Baby Chai.  It’s fair to say I’m feeling a bit sensitive at the moment and it’s truly affecting all of me. My character, my emotions and my skin.

 

For the last few years or more I’ve been an advocate for natural, organic and ethical skincare and brands.  Something else I believe in is doing what’s good for us now, with the understanding that just as the seasons change, so does what we need.

 

Right now I need all the yoga, grounding with bare feet in nature, time with loved ones sharing laughs and something special, sensitive and caring for my skin.

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A couple of weeks ago I was introduced to Pai, a London based and made organic skincare for sensitive skin with a special ethos; to deliver the highest quality organic ingredients, that support ethical practices in all areas of their business, giving and doing the best for their customers and the planet. With a special connection to New Zealand, Pai’s name was actually born from the Māori word ‘Pai’ meaning “goodness”.

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I only share with you Babes when I truly believe in not only products but also the beliefs and values behind the brand. The more I looked into the brand the more I fell in love.  It was developed by Babe Sarah Power, who like me after a lifetime of normal, relatively resilient, skin found her skin needs had changed but she couldn’t find sensitive products that were true to their marketing of “natural” or “organic”, but instead contained synthetic and known irritants. This is when she developed Pai, an honest organic skincare range, the first to list it’s ingredients in plain English, so we know exactly what we’re putting on our skin.

 

So gorgeous darlings, it is an absolute pleasure for me to introduce to you four of my fave Pai products, tried and tested by me.  You can find the range in Life Pharmacies or online.

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Copaiba Deep Cleanse, AHA Mask

This baby is light and creamy, it glides on smoothly and isn’t too thick.  As it dries it hardens but you’re not left with a rock face tightening which is actually lovely.  The product comes with a certified 100% organic cotton cloth, made in India, which I adore.  This mask leaves your skin feeling clean and soft. I’ve been using it every few days while drinking tea and journaling.

 

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Chamomile & Rosehip Calming Day Cream

This is my hero product from the four I’ve been using. I’m normally a serum girl, but I love how this feels on my skin - this beauty is exactly what it says, it’s calming. Which is exactly what I need right now. As soon as I apply it to my face, the scent of the chamomile has an instant calming effect. I drink chamomile tea in the evenings for it’s relaxing properties and having it in my moisturiser in the morning is an absolute delight.  One pump does my whole face, neck and décolletage so I know it’s going to last. I also hear it’s one of Natalie Portman’s favourite products.

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Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil

Rich in beautiful essential fatty acids this product is 99% organic and with only four ingredients, in my opinion, is absolutely fab. It’s recommended to use 2-3 times a week but I’ve been using it nightly on a damp face straight after cleansing. After flying or if I’m feeling like I need a super conditioning calming boost I’ll use it with a pump of my Chamomile Day Cream. Just a couple of drops goes a long way, it’s beautiful all natural orange colour means you’ll want to let this one dry before putting on clothes.

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Echium & Argan Gentle Eye Cream

Yay for a natural eye cream,  just what I’ve always wanted. This one is full of gorgeous ingredients I can both pronounce and recognise. It’s 75% organic with Echium Seed CO2 Extract which soothes and refreshes skin (me right now!).  It feels so lovely each evening taking care of and placing special attention to this delicate area that is such a marker for vitality or tiredness.

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Every Pai product is tested and certified by the Organic Soil Association, the Leaping Bunny and Vegan Society – Yay!  Fab to know that they never test on animals, and also take it further by ensuring they don’t source anything from companies that do, I’m so all about this.

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Giveaway |

Thanks to the Babes at Pai I have a three products from their lovely range to gift to you.  To enter, simply comment below why you believe it’s important to be sensitive to what our skins needs.

 

Competition for NZ residents only (sorry Babes) and closes Wednesday 28th Feb, 2018 at 9pm.