Catwalks To Cradles

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    March 29th 2016, by Cara G Mcilroy in Fashion


    LOCATION: Shek O Beach, Hong Kong WEARING: Agent Provocateur swimsuit, Vintage leather jacket, F+H earrings and rings, Sunday Somewhere sunglasses

    PHOTOGRAPHY: Jesper McIlroy

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    Photograpghy by Jesper McIlroy

    Byron Bay has always been one of my favorite places in the world and now even more so. On my latest trip down under I discovered this amazing restaurant, The Farm. I’m not sure if restaurant would even be the correct word. This place is more like a hipster, eco chic theme park for food lovers. Now to sum it up it is a locally sustained organic restaurant, coffee shop, bakery, bar, florist, supermarket and organic farm.  The food here is absolutely divine! If your in a hurry this isn’t the place to go.  It can take quite some time to get a table and even once you get one, the foods takes forever to arrive but in my opinion it is well worth the wait. However if you are starving or needing a caffeine boost, as I do almost all the time you can go grab a coffee or a pastry from the bakery to tie you over. There is also a tone of things to keep your mind off your grumbling belly like taking a stroll around the property. There are pigs, chickens and beautiful green pastures for you to enjoy. You can read up about each part of the farm and even chat to the farmers about their practices.  The florist is simply beautiful and the supermarket is filled with books and local produce to keep you entertained. It is truly a magiacl place. Myself and my family spent hours there, I found it so relaxing and inspiring. It also helped that they had amazing coffee made with their own nutmilks too. The Farm is situated just off the highway into Byron Bay so you don’t need to go right into the hussel and busel of Byron centre to enjoy The Farm. The perfect family day out for those tribes that love good vibes and heathy treats. I loved The Fram so much that I’m completely inspired to start my own mini farm one day. A girl can dream.

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    December 4th 2015, by Cara G Mcilroy in Beauty 

    Looking for the perfect escape for a day, weekend or even the week? A week would be crazy but this is Hong Kong after all and this treatment claims to reduce your age by 3.9 years when done consecutively for 7 days.  Not sure about you but I don’t have the cash or the time to indulge in that kind of investment. So I had to settle for a 1 day treatment. So I didn’t loose 3.9 years off my life but instead I’m looking fabulous for my age which is still awesome. A girl can dream though.

    The Perfect Ten Diamond Life Infusion Facial was a 1 hour and 30 min treatment but I say 1 day because the spas facilities are so amazing you could literally spend the entire day. Before for my treatment I spent 1 hour steaming, swimming, relaxing and unwinding. Preparing myself for relaxation mode.

    The facial has 10 steps.

    1.Welcome Ritual
    A sensational room spray – Diamond Experience Water

    2. First Touch
    Face cleansing and make-up removal with Diamond White Rich Luxury Cleanse and skin toning with Diamond White Clarity Toning Lotion

    3.Face Pressure
    Shirodhara Massage with Diamond Experience Lavender Infusion

    using Glycoline Peel or Enzyme peel

    5.Face Massage
    with Diamond Experience Nectar

    6.First Experience
    1st Mask with LED by using Diamond Experience Chromo-Rejuvenating Mask and Diamond Experience & Diamond Experience Lavender Infusion

    2nd Soft Rubble Mask by using Diamond Experience Youth Infusion Bio-Mask

    8.Diamond Hand Ritual
    Exclusive hand massage with Diamond Experience Body Cream to deeply nourish the skin

    .9Face Protection
    Moisturising the face with Diamond Drops & Diamond White Spa 50 PA +++ Matte Finish Sun Protection

    10.Final Touch
    Adding warm touches and spraying the room with Diamond Experience Water

    I must say this was a very special facial.  I felt like a new woman.  My skin was so bright to the point it was almost a differenet shade to the rest of my body, in a good way.

    After my treatment I took some time to grab a snack in the chill out area. After all I had been in there 2 and a half hours already so I was starving! Mid snack I completely passed out and slept 45mins.  This treatment was exactly what this sleepless Mummy needed to get her though the rest of a busy week.

    For a limited time the The Oriental Spa at the Landmark Mandarin has teamed up with Spanish beauty company Natura Bissé to offer a unique accommodation package for their guests to celebrate their 10 year anniversary. You can contact for bookings or more details.

    Lots of love,


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    November 25th 2015, by Cara G Mcilroy in Beauty


    Products featured: Eyes To Kill Liner no. 9 and Eye tint no. 15

    Getting bored with the same nude shades? Try these gorgeous new limited edition colours from Armani to spice up your look this holiday season.



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    November 18th 2015, by Cara G Mcilroy in Food

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    1 Cup of fresh coconut flesh

    1 banana

    1 tablespoon of organic coconut cream powder

    1 teaspoon organic vanilla bean powder

    1 table spoon of coconut flower sugar

    1/2 teaspoon of organic cinnamon

    20 drops of banana medicine flower


    2/3 cup of organic almond flour

    1/2 cup of organic almonds

    5 organic medjool dates

    1 tablespoon of organic cacao butter

    2 tablespoons of organic coconut oil


    1 banana

    1 tablespoon of  cacao nibs

    2-3 cinnamon sticks



    1 .Place all ” Filling ” ingredients into a food processor and pulse until all ingredients are completely combined. Should take around 3 mins max.  Place mixture to the side. Wash your food processor so you can prepare your base.

    2.  Place all ” Base ” ingredients into a food processor and pulse until all ingredients are well combined. Should take around 1 mins max. you want this mixture to still be chunky for texture.

    3.  Lightly oil a pie/tart tray with coconut oil.  I like to use a tray that has a removable centre.  Much easier when you want to remove your tart or pie.

    4. Take your base mixture and firmly press it into your pie/tart tray. Make sure you press it firmly into the tray so it doesn’t crumble later when you try to remove it.

    5. Take your filling mixture and spoon into your your base and smooth out evenly.

    Your pie is almost done now …

    6. Place your pie in the fridge for 30 mins to set.

    7. Remove pie from the fridge and garnish with your ” Topping ” ingredients.

    Now your Raw banana cream pie is ready to impress!

    Delicious served with nice-cream or ice cream and a cup of tea of course.

    Happy Autumn,


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    November 12th 2015, by Cara G Mcilroy in Food




    1 Cup of dehydrated coconut
    3 table spoons of raw organic cacao butter
    3 table spoons of organic coconut milk powder
    1 heaped teaspoon of organic matcha powder
    3 tablespoons of raw coconut nectar


    1 cup of raw organic cacao paste
    1 tablespoon of raw organic coconut oil
    1/2 a cup of dehydrated cane juice


    1 table spoon of raw coconut milk powder
    1/4 teaspoon of matcha powder


    1 .Place all “Filling” ingredients into a food processor and pulse until all ingredients are completely combined. Should take around 3 mins max

    2. Take 1 heaped tablespoon of filling mixture and roll into a tight ball in the palm of your hand.

    3. Once you have made all your mixture into balls place them in the freezer.

    Now it’s time to make the raw chocolate coating.

    4. Take a pot and fill with water around 1/2 way from the bottom. Take a thick glass bowl that fits snug on the top of your pot. You don’t want your glass bowl to touch the water or the bottom of your pot. This method of melting chocolate is called double boil. Check out this informative clip if your confused.

    Place your cocao paste and coconut oil into your glass bowl and once melted add the dehydrated cane juice and stir.  Your chocolate coating is ready when all ingredients are completely combined and in a warm liquid state.  NOTE: The dehydrated cane juice will never dissolve completely.  This is why I love it! Adds a nice crunchy texture.

    5. Take your balls from the freezer and roll them around in your chocolate, once completely covered place back into the freezer for 2 mins and repeat 3-4 times for a nice thick coat.
    When you are satisfied with your chocolate coating keep them out on the bench.

    6. Place your matcha top layer ingredients on a plate and mix together. This will create a lovely light green dust for you to roll your truffles in and then you all done!

    I guarantee you they won’t be around for more then a couple of days. I ate all mine in 3 days. However if you do decide to store them for longer they can be kept in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or the freezer for 1 month.  ………YUM

    Domo arigato.


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    October 28th 2015, by Cara G Mcilroy in Family



    1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you grew up. Was it work or pleasure that brought you to Hong Kong?

    I grew up in Macon, Georgia in the USA. As a teen I was a cheerleader and competed in pageants… a typical Southern upbringing. But I was oddly tall and cheerleading uniforms and evening gowns were too short on me so I set my sights on the wonderful world of fashion. I started modelling at the age of 14 (I was 5’10” and a size 0/2) and travelling to New York where I later moved when I was 19. It was then that I met a boy, as you do, and followed him to Asia for his career. I could work anywhere after all and Hong Kong sounded like a fun new adventure and a place to build my book. I had been shooting on the side since 2004 as a photographer but mostly just for fun and for a little extra pocket money. After several months of exploring in Hong Kong I decided not to return to modelling but instead to focus entirely on my photography. And that was that!


    1. Has photography always been a passion of yours?

    Yes, making beautiful images has always been a passion of mine! Growing up I was able to do that as a model thanks to the visions of the incredible teams around me. I loved it when I would see a photo and not recognize myself. I knew how to move and how to style to get a great image but I didn’t know how to capture it with the camera once I found myself on the other side. After literally hundreds of shoots and dress up sessions with new models I felt I knew a thing or two about how to shoot and felt comfortable putting a price on it. Now I shoot a mix of fashion, portrait, and family. When people ask what I shoot I typically respond “ Anything with people.” I particularly love working with new models and people who aren’t often shot as they are amazed by how I see them. The point when they look at the back of the camera and see just how beautiful they truly are is the best part of the day!

    1. How did you transition from photography being a hobby to a career?

    It was the move to Hong Kong that helped me make that leap. I had been modelling full time in New York and shooting in my spare time. I had planned to do the same in Hong Kong as well. Typically when I moved to a new city I was there for work so on day one I’d hit the ground doing castings and end up getting lost and upset and yelled at by my agency for being late. I didn’t want that in Hong Kong so I decided to take the first three months and just get to know the city. I planned to sign with an agency in January after I was all settled in and knew my way around. Well, three months turned into eight years and counting! Instead I decided to turn my attention to the other side of the lens and spend more time working on my photography. There is just so much to shoot here in HK! I set up meetings with a few magazines in town and was added to their roster then I linked up with Sassy Hong Kong (I also contribute fashion and beauty articles as well) and began shooting their That Girls and That Mamas. Slowly by word of mouth my schedule got busier and busier and now I typically shoot about three to four times a week and am booked a month in advance. I also shoot for my own blog, The First

    1. Do you believe you have a distinct style as a photographer?

    Most of my photos are full of light and color. If I am shooting with natural light I love flooding the image with it. If it is studio work then I love bold colors and lots of expressions and movement. An image should draw you in and speak to you. Beyond the images, I think I’m best known for how I interact with the subjects helping them to emote and move on film. That comes from my years in front of the camera. Most of my clients are women and I love shooting women. I can guide then on how to move to help them feel powerful and confident all while still holding a ladylike aspect to it. Plus, I know a few tricks on how to move to contour the shape where you won’t need to be retouched!

    1. What is the most memorable moment or moments in your career so far? 

    Shooting with Coco Rocha last year was certainly a highlight! She was pregnant at the time so we chatted babies as we worked. As fun and natural as it is for me to guide my subjects sometimes it is nice to just sit back and watch them work their magic! She moved like the wind changing effortlessly from laughing to angry and made the most beautiful “ugly” faces! I couldn’t wait to get back and unload the card!


    1. How do you find time in your busy schedule to balance work and family?

    Balance is a word that I haven’t yet found the meaning of and I don’t think any mama who works every truly does. When you are at work you wonder about what is going on at home and when you are at home you feel guilty that you aren’t working. For me, I am lucky to have my son hang with me at the studio on off days so I can do the editing and retouching while he plays. Then I take play breaks and we color together or build towers and…BOOM… knock them over. Right now as I answer these questions he is playing by my desk. I am very lucky in that I am mostly in control of my schedule so I don’t schedule more than I can handle. I used to shoot four times a week and then do events in the afternoons and at night. Now I shoot quite a lot but I have toned down the events and I make sure I am home at 5:30 for bedtime. Saturday is date night with my better half and Sunday is usually family pool day. When one week gets manic then I try to tone down the events for the week following so we can have our time together.

    1. Can you tell us about your career before and after you had a child/ children? Was it difficult getting back into your regular working routine after having a child/ children?

    I certainly was on the go before kids but in a different way. The day consisted of shooting most mornings then I’d come home get fixed up and head out to fashion events for the blog then come home and write an article then back out for evening fashion events. I wore loads more colors and heels and drank a good bit more champagne. I started slowing down while pregnant as I was wildly sick the whole time (glamorous, I know). I was actually hospitalized a week before he was born because I couldn’t stop getting sick! Ugh! I shot regularly up until about eight weeks before he was born but then the ups and down of shooting resulted in horrible Braxton Hicks so I had to stop earlier than planned. I then focused on waddling to events and writing as many articles as possible so that while I was away on maternity leave there was loads of scheduled content to go up.

    After Adam was born I needed time to heal and wasn’t keen to leave him or haul gear. I did my first shoot as a blogger where I modelled for Shanghai Tang five weeks after he was born. I had done the traditional Chinese confinement with him so I was excited to get out of the house for one day and have a little breath of the old me. It was also the day he was starting a bottle and apparently it is best for the mom to leave as the kiddo can smell her up to 20 feet away. He took to it like a champ. My first job as a photographer was about two months after he was born and it was a six-hour shoot which turned out to be a bit more than I could handle so I toned it down for a while after that. He fed every two and a half hours for five and half months so I would only accept one to two hour shoots at first to make sure I was home to feed/pump as often as possible. Slowly but surely we found our way. I felt like to took about five to six months to feel like myself again and from there I felt more confident to add to the work schedule.

    1. Has having a child changed your outlook on your career?

    Yes and no. I have always followed my heart with my career working towards goals but staying true to what inspires me and brings me joy. I have never really been driven by money so if I missed a shoot or two it didn’t bother me. I don’t have goals to be the biggest or the best so those never needed to change. Luckily, what brought me joy also paid the bills. What did change was the management of it all. I would say yes to any and every job before because I like to stay busy and it was exciting. Now I have to say no more and pick and choose what gets my time. For instance, I block out Monday and Friday mornings so I can take my son to school then I plan shoots in the afternoons. My son and my family will always be more important than any career or job.

    1. What are some of your favourite places to hang out with your family during the days you don’t have to work?

    We live in Chai Wan and so we spend a good chunk of the spare time going to Chai Wan Park where we feed the fish and the turtles, watch the remote control boats in the pond, or slide at the playgrounds. Adam loves to swing and play ball in the playground behind the studio so we go there loads too. On the weekends we typically head to either the Chai Wan pool or the American Club where he can run in the grass, drink smoothies, and swim. My little Pisces is indeed quite a fish!

    1. When you are not working where are some of your favourite family restaurants to eat with your family in Hong Kong ?

    Family restaurants are tricky in Hong Kong. Most of my favourite restaurants are little holes in the wall that serve messy spicy food so I try to hit those up on date night instead. We eat a lot at home and cook loads but when we do go out we typically hit up the American Club as Adam can run in the yard while we eat outside and watch him. I also love going to either The Diner or Burger Circus and getting a massive burger, shake and fries to share. Oolaa is always a good spot with kids but it gets really crowded on the weekends.

    1. There are many people who aspire to be a photographer, as a professional. What would you recommend people do to transition from photography as a hobby to a career?

    I think it depends on what style of photography they want to do. For fashion, a good tip is to start by reaching out to local modelling agencies and seeing if they have any new talent that is in need of testing. This way you get practice and the new model gets images to build her book. Once you feel confident shooting this then send samples of your work to magazines in your area and set meetings with the Photo Editor where you can be added to their roster and called for jobs that you fit the bill for. Magazines typically don’t pay much but getting your work published builds credibility.

    For family/maternity/kids shoots you can start by shooting friends and family and their kids. Then make sure they give photo credits when they post the images. After you have a few shoots that you are happy with then send your work to parenting magazines and blogs and ask to shoot for photo credits at first. That can lead to lots of word of mouth jobs as friends ask friends who took the images!

    The hard part is deciding when to step away from your full-time job, if you have one, and make the leap. That is a personal choice but basically you should have several months savings built up to cover you if things don’t take off right away. That is the thing with working for yourself… you have to keep plugging away to secure a steady paycheck and even then there are busy months and dry spells. But if you love it and you keep getting your work and your name out there then hopefully the work will pour in!

    If you love Sabrina as much as we do follow her on Instagram @sabrinasikora and check out her blog


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    Sassy Mama’s “Top HK Moms to Follow on Instagram”

    October 21th 2015, by Cara G Mcilroy in Family


    Thank you so much Sassy Mama HK for choosing me as one of the “Top HK Mom to Follow on Instagram” :

    Cara was featured on a That Girl post a while ago, but she’s a mama of a cute little girl now. She’s a model, TV presenter, businesswoman and most importantly a wife and a mama. Her new blogCatwalks to Cradles features anything that catches the fancy of this Aussie country girl. Fashion, beauty, family, travel, and food posts aside, we’re crazy about her DIY ideas. She’s also the owner of Genie Juicery if you’re thinking of doing a juice cleanse. From the looks of her insta, this mama is expecting another little bundle of joy. Find out more about her pregnancy journey and life as a mama in this The Bump post!” – Sassy Mama HK


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    October 12th  2015, by Cara G Mcilroy in Food

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    -6 organic free range eggs

    -1/2 cup of milk

    -1 large handful of fresh organic spinach finely chopped

    -8-10 finely chopped cherry tomatoes

    -1/4 teaspoon turmeric

    -1/2 teaspoon of organic dried basil

    -1/4 f a cup of grated parmesan cheese


    Baking paper

    Large muffin baking tray with 6 cups


    1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees

    2. Beat eggs with a fork.

    3. Add milk to your beaten egg mixture and beat again until light and fluffy.

    4. Add turmeric and basil and beat again, just enough to mix into the egg mixture.

    5. Add spinach, tomatoes and parmesan cheese ( leave some 2 tablespoons of cheese to the side ) . Mix until all ingredients are well combined.

    6. Very lightly oil muffin tray

    7. Cut baking paper into squares to fit into your muffin tray cups, and place into the tray. Molding the paper to the shape of the tray.

    8. Place mixture into the tray evenly distributing mixture between the cups.

    9. Place in oven for 12-14mins.

    Your quiches are ready when you can press firmly on them and they spring back.

    These are perfect for breakfast on the go. Or even for lunch or dinner accompanied with a side salad and some sweet chilli sauce.




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    October 14th 2015, by Cara G Mcilroy in Family

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    1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you grew up. Was it work or pleasure that brought you to Hong Kong?

    I am ½ Japanese, ½ Shanghainese born and raised in Toronto, Canada and moved to Hong Kong after 4 years of long distance with my now husband, Jason. I guess I kind of followed him here. I was 24 at the time and it seemed like the right thing to do.


    1. Has photography always been a passion of yours?

    I absolutely love taking photos, but it’s not what I’ve always done for work. I used to be in shoe design and manufacturing, but it feels like a lifetime ago. I’ve been a photographer now for 7 years and it’s really a huge part of my life and something I am extremely passionate about. Capturing that special moment, whether it’s my own kids or for clients really brings me a lot of joy and satisfaction.


    1. How did you transition from photography being a hobby to a career?

    I started out just photographing my own child and of my son’s friends at playgroup. From there, people started asking me to do family sessions. I remember starting out and being super excited that people were liking my work! It’s a great feeling to be able to do what you love and make others happy at the same time!


    1. Do you believe you have a distinct style as a photographer?

    I think style, be it fashion, design, or photography, is ever evolving. You’re constantly changing as a person, learning new things, having new experiences, growing and finding new inspiration so it’s only natural to have this reflected in your style. I hope I continue to grow and improve. I think once you stop learning something it’s time to move onto something new.


    1. What is the most memorable moment or moments in your career so far?

    I remember when I first started photographing newborns, I had a session where the baby was having a hard time feeding and settling and cried on and off for quite a while. The parents were flustered and for me, being able to help calm the baby and offer emotional support to the parents while capturing the special moments made me walk out of there feeling really confident that this is exactly where I am supposed to be right now. Working with babies requires a lot of patience and confidence so that was THE moment for me.


    1. How do you find time in your busy schedule to balance work and family?

    I haven’t quite worked this one out yet…I feel rather than having a balance, there are just some crazy busy and overwhelming periods that I just need to get through and I take slow work periods to relax and recharge. Balance implies there is a happy medium but as a working mom of 3 kids I just don’t feel it’s possible all the time. I wish I had a better answer!


    1. Can you tell us about your career before and after you had a child/ children? Was it difficult getting back into your regular working routine after having a child/ children?

    So, before kids, I ran my own company and was very rarely in HK. I travelled 80% of the time and worked insanely long hours. I had some health issues at the time so had to really consider and make some big decisions about what I wanted for my life. When we became pregnant with our first son, I decided to take a break from my career. At the time I was so worried and sad and unsure of the decision but looking back it was the best decision I could have made for our family. Our first 2 boys were both born quite premature with my 2nd son requiring a lot of hospitalization and therapy. Being able to focus all my time and attention on my family was paramount to his recovery so I have no regrets about my decision. Photography came after I became a parent and it was and has been a welcomed career change. It’s taken some time to build up a client base and portfolio while being a WFHM but I’m working on that happily, one step at a time.


    1. Has having a child changed your outlook on your career?

    It most definitely has. I think becoming a parent completely alters your perspective on life. It’s no longer all about what you want for your life and with 3 kids I now have so many lives to take into consideration. Having had 2 premature babies, each faced moments where we could have lost them, especially with my 2nd son, he was just such a poor breather along with some other health issues. It’s in those awful and dark moments that you really get to see what is the true light in life. The gratitude my husband and I have experienced in being able to bring our children home has really changed our outlook on life, including our careers.


    1. What are some of your favourite places to hang out with your family during the days you don’t have to work?

    We love all of Hong Kong’s beautiful beaches, Stanley and the Pulse are our go to on sunny days. We regularly playground hop too!


    1. When you are not working where are some of your favourite family restaurants to eat with your family in Hong Kong?

    My kids love the pasta at Te, Pizza from Pizza Express, Pancakes at Aberdeen Street, and Caesar Salad from Oola. Crystal Jade at IFC and Wang Jia Sha at Taikoo Shing are the Chinese cuisine favourites!


    1. There are many people who aspire to be a photographer, as a professional what would you recommend people do to transition from photography as a hobby to a career?

    Just get out there and take photos of what you love! Practice and perfect your skill. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to learn from others! You can always offer discounted or free sessions while you’re starting out until you get to a level you are satisfied with. The most important thing is to photograph regularly and figure out what makes you unique, what your style is and go from there!

    To see more of Keiko’s beautiful work visit: