Catwalks To Cradles

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    NATURALLY BETTER BOX

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    As you all know I’m a huge fan of all things natural. So naturally (no pun intended) I have fallen in love with this new hong Kong based start up, the Naturally Better Box.

    The idea is that you sign up to a month subscription and each month you receive a beautiful box filled with cruelty free, toxic free, and environmentally friendly products are sent directly to your doorstep.

    The girls at the NBB search the globe for the best products available and only share with us the ones the believe in, trust and love. The beauty of this is that all the goodies have been tried and tested by two women who are passionate about all things natural.

    Unlike other subscriptions you receive full sized products. In my opinion this is much better than samples as you get the full experience and can better judge if you really love the products. If you do fall for  certain lip balm, cleaning product or yummy tea, just jump online to their e-shop and purchase more. It’s that easy…. Then all you need to do is sit back and wait until the next month to be introduced to more delectable NBB goodies.

    Each box is filled with six full sized items.  These are my top six picks.

    The Pure Candle and Coal & Canary Candle

    Candles are a must in our house hold.  They are perfect for a romantic evening or simply to make the house smell amazing. They also look super cool.  These candles smell divine and burn clear of soot, chemicals and smoke so you can breath easy, sit back, and enjoy the ambience.

    Matcha Maiden-100% pure organic green tea powder and Pranayum-masala chai tea

    As you can see I clearly have a love for candles and tea. Chai always reminds me of home (Australia).  Relaxing and sipping a chai latte is one of my favorite things to do right off the plane. It’s so yummy and Hong Kong has yet to master the art of making Chai like Australia. This is why I love to have it on hand at home so I can make it myself.  Green tea is for sure one of my favorite flavors. So much that I created a super yummy smoothie for you guys to try using Matcha Maiden tea.

    Wotnot-facial wipes

    Perfect to have in your bag for many reasons. For me I hate to wear make-up but unfortunately it is unavoidable in my line of work. These wipes are the perfect natural solution for me to clean my face of make-up right after a shoot or on the go. They are great to clean the kids faces and sticky fingers after a messy brunch date. And you can rest assured your not rubbing nasty chemicals on their delicate little faces. They are also biodegradable.

    Resparkel kit

    Cleaning products are so scary to me. Specially since having first a dog, then children.  I’ll be honest allot of meals are eaten off the floor these days so cleaning products thats have no nasty chemicals, but work are so important.

    The NBB has so many other fantastic products in their online store.  If your at all thinking of how to add more natural and organic products to your home and life they are worth checking out.

    www.naturallybetterbox.com

    Lets make our lives more green,

    love,

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    Coconut Matcha Smoothie

    INGREDIENTS

    -1 cup of organic almond milk

     -1 teaspoon of Matcha Maiden-100% organic green tea powder

    -1 frozen banana

    -1 tablespoon of raw honey

    -2 1/2 tablespoons dehydrated coconut (1/2 tablespoon set aside for topping)

    -5 cubes of ices

    -1/2 tablespoon of chia seeds for topping

    Blend banana, almond milk, honey, coconut, ice, matcha and pour into a glass jar. Top with chia seeds, coconut and drizzle with honey.

    Perfect afternoon pick me up that is delicious and packed full of antioxidants!

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    BEDROOM BLISS

    August 3rd 2015, by Cara G Mcilroy in Family

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    When I started Genie Juicery I was contacted by an Australian company that supplied organic bamboo apparel. They contacted me via my Instagram account as they thought I would love their products as they are all organic and sustainable. Inline with our philosophies at Genie Juicery.  They were right. Their t-shirts were amazing, so comfortable, eco-friendly and lightweight. I was very impressed with the feeling and quality that I ordered all our staff t-shirts from them.

    At this point in time I had not really  heard of bamboo in the form of a fabric or textile.

    Now moving on a few years later having forgotten about them (sorry Ettitude) they contacted me again to introduce me to their new bed linen range.  I was not going to say no, sure send me some and let me test it out. Why not right? All I have to say is that I have never slept better.  To be honest I really didn’t think there would be such a huge difference in linen.  Sadly I have been ikea all the way in regards to linen up until now.

    Now their website claims the below benefits

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    All I can tell you is that I have never slept better. They feel amazing on your skin and anything that is chemical free is a plus in my books especially for my kids. Even my husband who wouldn’t really comment on these sorts of things is constantly saying how they are the best sheets he has ever slept on. He wants us to replace all our linen with bamboo.  I was quite worried about the prices to be honest. The original duvet set was gifted to us so I had no idea of the costs. After looking at their website I was delighted to see that their prices were very fair, especially for something that is organic. We all know that usually when you hear the word “organic” it is

    attached to numerous dollar signs.  Not in this case. Ettitude also offers worldwide free shipping for orders over $70 aussie dollars which isn’t bad at all.

    Ettitude is worth checking out and now is the time to do so as the Australian dollar is so low so its even more affordable. I promise you will thank me.


    www.ettitude.com

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    RASPBERRY CHOC NICECREAM POP

    August 3rd 2015, by Cara G Mcilroy in Food

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    INGREDIENTS

    – 1/2 cup of frozen raspberries

    – 165 ml of Thai coconut milk

    – 1 over ripe banana

    – 1/2 cup cacao paste

    – 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean

    – 1 1/2 tablespoons of coconut oil

    – 1 1/2 tablespoons of coconut flower sugar

    – a pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt

    DIRECTIONS

    1. In a blender combine the raspberries, Thai coconut milk and over-ripe banana and blend until smooth.

    2. Place combined mixture into a popsicle mould ( these usually make 4 ). Leave the mould in the freezer until the mixture is frozen. Now it’s time to make the chocolate.

    3. 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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2UGOZMd9qM

    4. Place the coconut oil and cacao paste into the glass bowl. Turn the heat onto low. Stir frequently until oil and cacao paste have completely melted.

    5.  Now add your coconut flower sugar and vanilla bean powder into the melted mixture. Stir until all the coconut flower sugar granules have melted.  Turn off the heat. Your chocolate is now ready!

     10. Take your frozen popsicles out of the freezer. Hold the stick and dip them into your melted chocolate.  You can dip them half way or all the way the choice is yours.  Double dipping is highly recommended.

    11. Place the popsicles on a small tray and pop them back into freezer.  Once the chocolate is frozen your raspberry choc nicecream pops are ready. Yum Yum.

    Enjoy,

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    OUR BABY SHOWER #2

    July 30th 2015, by Cara G Mcilroy in Family & Food


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    After the amazing job they did helping me to style my wedding and my first baby shower, my fave stylists iDecorate were the obvious choice to help me with the shower for Baby #2.

    The central focus for the party was of course the food table. iDecorate used a soft pastel colour palette of turquoise, grey, baby pink and blue with pops of gold thrown in for good measure.

    Five giant white balloons lined the back of the table, with a two meter long paper tassel garland. The large balloons on each end featured extra long gold tassel garlands to frame the table.

    Guests sipped on Genie Juicery  juices and smoothies , pink lemonade and my special home-made sangria, served in iDecorate vintage inspired crystal decanter and glassware. We served a light assortment for a Sunday afternoon tea –finger sandwiches with tuna spread and cucumber and tomato, vegetables sticks with hommus and guacamole, mini sausage rolls with tomato sauce (an Australian favourite) and of course my yummy raw bounty bars.

    Ms B’s Cakery surprised me with the most delicious cakes made by the amazing Ms. Bonnae Gokson. We devoured the new ‘Gender Reveal’ cake, which of course was pink to mark “It’s a Girl!” The cake is a cherry & vanilla marbled chiffon cake with white chocolate crisps smothered with fresh cream. Gender reveal cakes are very popular in the United States and Ms B’s Cakery are the first one to bring it to Hong Kong.

    I had dreamt of a beautifully relaxed, yummy day where I could catch up with all my friends before I go on lock-down again but that wasn’t to be. So many of my friends now have babies of their own and I have made so many new friends with kids since having India. My quiet little shower turned into an all-out baby rave, with kids taking over the living room singing ‘Let It Go’ and ‘Shake It Off ‘ at the tops of their lungs. Wow how life has changed, but I really wouldn’t have it any other way.

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    GET THE LOOK FOR LESS : You can DIY my baby shower. All products in these photos are sold on iDecorateshop.com including the tassels, bunting, balloons, cake platters and glassware – all you have to do is buy it, get it delivered and get your hubby (hehe) to put it together.

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    GRANOLA

    July 27th 2015, by Cara G Mcilroy in Food

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    INGREDIENTS

    – 3 green apples

    – 3 cups of oats

    – 1 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

    – 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

    – 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds

    – 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds

    – 1/2 cup of crushed walnuts

    – 2 tablespoons of chia seeds

    – 4/3 tablespoons of coconut flower nectar

    DIRECTIONS

    1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. 

    2. Take your apples. Core, peel and cut into quarters.

    3. Fill a medium-sized pot half full with water and add the apples. Bring to boil.

    4. Once boiling lower the temperature and maintain a low simmer for 15- 20 minutes or until the apples are soft.

    5. Remove the pot from the heat.  Drain the apples and let them cool.

    6.  Once the apples have cooled pop them into a blender with your coconut flower nectar. Blend until smooth.  This is your apple sauce.

    7. In a large bowl add your oats, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix together.

    8. Then add your pumpkin seeds,  sunflower seeds, crushed walnuts and chia seeds and mix well.

    9. Now add your applesauce to the above dry mixture and mix together thoroughly. If you like your granola sweet now is the time to add some extra sweetener.

    10. Grease a baking tray with coconut oil and spread the granola mixture evenly onto the tray. 

    11. Bake for 20 minutes.  Stir and continue baking for around another 5 to 15 minutes more or until the granola is very light golden brown colour. Keep an eye on it, it can change from light brown to burnt very quickly.

    12. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.  The granola will harden and become crunchy as it cools. Once cool your granola is ready!

    Keep your granola in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy with your favorite milk, honey and fresh fruits for a healthy start to your day.

    Enjoy,

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    ROSE & LEMONGRASS BATH SALTS

    July 20th 2015, by Cara G Mcilroy in Beauty

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    INGREDIENTS

    – 1/4 cup of coarse sea salt

    – 1/2 cup of baking soda

    – 2 cups of Epsom salt

    – Rose essential oil

    – Lemongrass essential oil

    – Pink dried rose buds

    DIRECTIONS

    1. In a large bowl mix together your sea salts, baking soda and Epsom salts.

    2. Now add 30 drops of rose essential oil and 15 drops of lemongrass essential oil.

    3. Sprinkle 6 rose buds petals and 15 full rose buds into the mixture.

    4. Now your bath salts are ready to be enjoyed. Please make sure to store them in an airtight container.

    These bath salts are so divine.  The perfect way to relax and unwind after a long day.  They also make a  DIY lovely gift.

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    RAW BOUNTY BAR

    July 13th 2015, by Cara G Mcilroy in Food

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    INGREDIENTS

    The filling:

    – 2 cups of raw organic coconut flakes

    – 1/2 cup of raw organic maple syrup

    – 1 teaspoon of natural vanilla essence

    – 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean

    The chocolate coating:

    – 1/2 cup cacao paste

    – 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean

    – 1 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

    – 1 1/2 tablespoon coconut flower sugar

    – a pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt

    * You will need a food processor or good blender for this recipe

    DIRECTIONS

    1. Place all of the filling ingredients into your food processor and pulse until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

    2. Take a tablespoon of the filling and shape it into a rectangle with your hands.

    3. Place the rectangles onto a tray and leave in the freezer until frozen. Now its time to make the chocolate.

    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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2UGOZMd9qM

    5. Place the coconut oil and cacao paste into the glass bowl. Turn the heat onto low. Stir frequently until oil and cacao paste have completely melted.

    6.  Now add your coconut flower sugar and vanilla bean powder into the melted mixture. Stir until all the coconut flower sugar granules have melted.  Turn off the heat. Your chocolate is now ready!

    7. Take your now frozen coconut filling rectangles out of the freezer, dip each piece into the chocolate sauce and placed on a tray.

    8. Pop your bounty bars back into the freezer until the chocolate has hardened. To get a thicker coating of chocolate, dip the raw bounty bars a second time and freeze again. Then your done.

    WARNING! If you are like me and love chocolate I suggest doubling this recipe.  These are super addictive and don’t last long in my fridge at all.

    Enjoy,

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    COFFEE SCRUB

    July 9th 2015, by Cara G Mcilroy in Beauty

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    INGREDIENTS

    – 1 cup of coffee beans

    – 1/2 cup of coconut oil

    – 1/2 cup of salt

    – Lavender essential oil

    DIRECTIONS

    1. Grind coffee beans in a coffee grinder. A medium grind is recommended.

    2. Combine coconut oil and coffee in a bowl and allow it to soak overnight.

    3. Then mix in the salt and add 6 drops of lavender essential oil to the coffee and coconut oil mixture that was soaked overnight.

    4. Mix the ingredients well together.

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    RAW CHOC BANANA POPS

    July 6th 2015, by Cara G Mcilroy in Food

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    INGREDIENTS

    – 2 bananas

    – sprinkles

    – crushed organic freeze dried apples

    – raw organic coconut flakes

    – 1/2 a cup of raw cacao paste

    – 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean powder

    – 1 1/2 tbl spoons raw coconut oil

    – 1 1/2 tbl spoons coconut flower sugar

    DIRECTIONS

    1. Peel and cut each banana in half and insert a popsicle stick into where the banana was cut, the flat end. Place on a tray and place in the freezer until frozen.

    2. Prepare a good amount of sprinkles, crushed freeze dried apples and raw organic coconut flakes onto separate plates and set aside for later, these are your toppers.

    3. 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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2UGOZMd9qM

    4. Place the coconut oil and cacao paste into the glass bowl. Turn the heat onto low. Stir frequently until oil and cacao paste have completely melted.

    5.  Now add your coconut flower sugar and vanilla bean powder into the melted mixture. Stir until all the coconut flower sugar granules have melted.  Turn off the heat. Your chocolate is now ready!

    6. Take your toppers and frozen bananas that you had prepared earlier.

    6. Hold the popsicle stick and carefully dip your frozen bananas into your melted chocolate. You can completely cover the banana or dip them only half way, the choice is yours.

    7. Immediately roll your chocolate covered banana into the topper. Place on a tray and pop it back into the freezer for the chocolate to set. This should only take around 20 mins max and then your absolutely delicious treats are ready to be devoured.

    Get creative with the toppers,  you could use nuts, honeycomb, cacao nibs or chia seeds. You could even mix a bunch of ingredients together. Keep them 100% guilt free or add something naughty. The possibilities are endless.

    These are for sure a favorite with my daughter India as you can see, and me too.

    Enjoy,

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    STYLE THE BUMP- AFTERNOON STRIPES

    July 2nd 2015, by Cara G Mcilroy in Fashion

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           LOCATION: Angsana Laguna Phuket, Thailand WEARING: Sass and Bide top, COS pants, Topshop necklace, Mellow Yellow shoes, Gucci lipstick in 390 iconic red

    PHOTOGRAPHER: Jesper McIlroy

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