Lifestyle

Triple Nut Banana Smoothie

February 19, 2016

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I finally got around to making the recipe that was included in my February I Am Company Delight Box. The recipe this month was for a Triple Nut Banana Smoothie which used two of the ingredients that came in the box, the Tanna Farms Organic Coconut Oil and the Make It Raw – Triple Nut Banana Bar. It ended up being an absolutely wonderful post-workout smoothie for Patrick who just loved it. I scored major wife brownie points!

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Triple Nut Banana Smoothie (Serves 1) 

Ingredients 

1 ripe banana (cold or frozen)

1 cup coconut, almond or other milk of choice

1 handful each of raw almonds and raw Brazil nuts (or cashews or pecans)

1 tablespoon natural peanut butter

1 tablespoon ground flax seeds

1/2 of 1 ‘Make It Raw’ triple nut banana bar (50g packet)

1 teaspoon ‘Tanna Farms’ organic coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

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Method 

Pop all the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth in consistency. Pour into a large glass and then pop remaining ‘triple nut banana bar’ inside the smoothie for some extra crunch. Enjoy right away.

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I couldn’t be happier with my I Am Company Delight Box. The February box has now sold out but you can order the next Delight Box here. The quality of the products included and the presentation are impressive and I love the little information and recipe card that comes with each box. You can read my review of the I Am Company Delight Box here.

* Thank you I Am Company for allowing me to share your Triple Nut Banana Smoothie recipe 

The Evolution of A Life Un-Styled

February 15, 2016

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I look back at this post on ‘why a life un-styled‘ with great fondness. It brings back such wonderful memories and generates such an imposing image of how much life has changed and will continue to change over time. All in ways that I had never imagined. There’s going to be a baby in the Mishra-Vakaoti household! I wanted to follow up that initial post on why the blog is called A Life Un-Styled and the shift towards an un-styled life with this post on how A Life Un-Styled has evolved.

I’ve been criticised, and I think legitimately so that my photos are styled and that in fact my life is styled. The most recent comment came about a month ago when a reader very kindly on Instagram wrote “The name of your account is so misleading, your images are perfectly styled and so beautiful!! :)” I appreciate the feedback and it means a lot that people feel comfortable enough to engage with me in this way.

I truly do share what I’m doing or things around my home. Having said that I do find the best light to show you these things. I don’t want to share grainy photos. So I guess that while you might argue that my flatlays are styled, my life definitely isn’t! I say I feel like the criticism is legitimate because it brings up the point that perhaps what looks ‘styled’ to one person is actually reality for another. For the most part our surfaces are usually empty, that might look styled or staged to some but that’s just how it is for us. My writing desk is in the lounge during the warmer months so I can’t have it strewn with things because it makes the place look messy and doesn’t elicit that beautiful tranquil environment that we aim for our home to be.

I might take my tea and muffin to where the best light is in the house, but that doesn’t deter from the fact that I’m taking a moment for myself. My tea is served in a pretty cup and there’s a pretty saucer not because I’m taking a picture to share with you but because we’ve made the conscious effort to only surround ourselves with things that are aesthetically pleasing to us.

Are the spaces around my ‘perfect’ photos just as neat? Yes! But there’s only Patrick and I in the house so there isn’t a lot of ‘mess’ and because we love the look of what we have even if the dish rag was strewn across the counter, it still kinda looks nice (it’s a beautiful white cotton one which I stitched together from the leftover cotton fabric I used for our curtains).

Who knows what a baby will mean to our aim of a simple, tranquil home and this space. I’ve done my best to ensure A Life Un-Styled doesn’t become a baby, or mummy blog but there’s no denying that this little one is already taking up so much of my heart, time and thought. I still feel like my life is balanced, I’m doing much of what I did pre-pregnancy and I still love all the things I loved back then. I have changed, life has changed but there’s still a lot of stability in that change, if that makes any sense.

But here’s to whatever lies ahead and as it all unfolds I thank you for your friendship and I hope you hang around for the rest of the ride! It’s going to be such an adventure!

A Delightful Box

February 9, 2016

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Last week I received a beautiful surprise in the mail, my very first Delight Box from I AM Co. At thirty-something weeks pregnant there is nothing better than receiving a package full of products free of preservatives or additives, GMO free, refined sugar free, vegan and locally sourced. And of course are healthy, yummy and beautiful! Actually, pregnant or not, receiving a box of goodness is always lovely. I’d like to eat cleaner and healthier but sometimes trying to figure out what’s good for you and for the environment can be confusing and frustrating. I AM Co. does all the research and heavy work for you and sends you only the best products currently on the market. But more than that, there’s really nothing nicer than receiving a beautiful package in the mail.

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The February Delight Box included an assortment of goodies from each of these categories: beauty products, drinks, food and snacks.

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Beauty Products included: Honest Skincare‘s lip/anything balm in Green Tea Mojito. It can be used as a salve for dry skin, to tame hair, and for nappy rash. The balm also came with a lovely little $10 off voucher. | Ethique Skincare shampoo and conditioner bars that are free of nasties and are completely sustainable.

Drinks included: CHIA superfood drink – I’ve included chia seeds in a few recipes and meals but for some reason I was really intimidated about trying this drink. I’ve put it off for so long and was glad to receive a bottle of the CHIA blueberry and apple. Chia seeds contain the highest known plant source of Omega 3s which help improve brain function and helps promote healthy skin, hair and nails, among other benefits. | A completely new to me brand was Stir Tea, I received their ginger lemon loose leaf tea with a packet of their ‘fill your own tea bag’ filters. This tea makes the perfect iced tea with the added benefits of improving digestion, detoxification and cleansing.

My favourite category, and one of the reasons I terribly need to get my hands on a Delight Box were the snacks and food: Tanna Farms Organic Coconut Oil this product comes all the way from Tanna Island in Vanuatu! This coconut oil is 100% natural, handmade and created with a 100% renewable energy source which uses the coconut shell and husk as fuel, so nothing goes to waste. |  Make It Raw Triple Nut Banana Bar that contains raw ingredients (banana, an assortment of nuts, coconut and apricots). The bars are full of vitamins, enzymes and proteins. The February Delight box also comes with a Triple Nut Banana Smoothie recipe that allows you to experiment with the Make It Raw nut bar and the Tanna Farms coconut oil. | Raw Evolution Bar Organic Superfood Bar – a healthy raw, organic, paleo-friendly, refined sugar-free, gluten-free and dairy-free snack bar! | And lastly the Awaken Alive Energy Bar, another wonderful raw food bar containing certified organic ingredients, made with raw whole goods, no chemicals or pesticide residues – just a whole lot of goodness in a bar!

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The February Delight Box was packed with healthy energy and snack bars which I absolutely love. They are such a great way to get a boost during the day. I’m ordering more of these three bars for my hospital ‘snack’ bag as I prepare for labour. I’m more than delighted with my first Delight Box. It’s such a convenient way to find out what’s available in the world of health, organic and raw foods and products without having to do all the leg work yourself. I can’t wait for my next box, which if all goes well should come just after our little one is born. What a great treat for a new mama that would be!

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If you think this is something you, or someone you know, will enjoy there’s still time to order the February Delight Box. You have until the 20th of February to purchase the February box (unless they run out of course)! The boxes are $39 and include shipping. There’s more information on the Delight Box here, or if you’d like to learn more about I AM Company and there’s the I AM Shop where they sell the products featured in their boxes.

A Brave Mama? ME?!

February 1, 2016

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Last week I connected on email with a recent Instagram friend, Meng Lim from Heart In Box. A few days later this appeared on my door step and it moved me totears. I haven’t had a ‘tough’ or ‘challenging’ pregnancy but there has been of course anxiety and nerves about the pregnancy, the birth, actual motherhood. Sometimes with all the excitement and happiness the nerves are suppressed and you forget to articulate them. Not only did this little package make me feel loved, it made me feel brave – not about the pregnancy, the birth, the impending motherhood but instead it made me feel brave in taking the time to acknowledge and share some of these nerves and anxiousness. I couldn’t think of a more wonderful gift for an expectant mum, a new mum, any mum really!

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With pregnancy there is so much emphasis on the baby, even on my part. It’s all about this little one. There have only been a handful of people who have stopped me and focused on ME. On the mother who is carrying the baby, whose body is providing the nourishment and whose mind is whirling with all things that need to be done, that can go wrong, that will happen, that won’t happen. Where in the celebration of life do we stop to celebrate the mums? Heart In Box is a gift package subscription service that sends out boxes of love to the mums in our lives. Each of the boxes are designed around particular themes, Meng sent me the ‘Brave Mama‘ box but there are also the ‘New Mama‘, ‘Busy Mama‘, ‘Birthday Mama‘ boxes and the just released ‘Adventure Mama‘ box.  For those wanting something a little more specific, you can also custom build a gift box ‘Build Your Own Heart Box‘ which would be perfect for any female, regardless of whether she’s a mother or not.

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Each box comes with up to five products that are on rotation and often change every few months. My box included a Kate Spade gold striped thermal mug, a bar of Bahen & Co stone ground chocolate, a hand-stamped minimalist bar necklace that said ‘loved’ and a sturdy ‘fleurs, bonbons, champagne’ tote bag. Complete with a lovely gift tag and a little card with a personalised note.

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These beautiful boxes can be shipped world wide, the cost of shipping is additional – though there is free shipping for some parts of Australia. You also have the option for express shipping in the event of a mama going into labour suddenly, a forgotten birthday (oops!) or because you’ve woken up and just felt like you need to surprise and gently remind a woman in your life that she is loved.

I can’t tell you how special it was for me to receive this. This products were great – I can’t wait to take that Kate Spade thermal mug to Starbucks the moment my little baby is born – but more than the products, the sentiment behind the box and its overall message of love and reminding me that I was brave impacted my mood in such an instant and beautiful way. And what’s more, in giving a gift like Heart in Box you’re not only showing love to a woman in your life, but you’re also supporting a small business and a mama who herself needs to be reminded that she is brave, loved and doing such meaningful work (that’s specifically for you Meng!).

Now – this brave mama is walking with her head a little higher, a bouncier bounce in her step and heading to tackle that hospital bag!

January in Books

January 31, 2016

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January was a fabulous start to the year as far as reading went for me. I must say that these lessons I shared about reading a book a week in 2015 made a big difference, particularly having a stack of books from various genres available at home.

Here’s a quick run down of what I read this month. I’ve divided them into two categories Notable Books (these are books I really enjoyed and would gladly recommend) and then Other Books (all those other books I read!).

Notable Books 

1. Simple Matters: Living with Less and Ending Up with More – Erin Boyle
(you can read my review of Simple Matters here)

2. Princess: An Appalling Indictment of the Treatment of Women in Saudi Arabia – Jean P. Sasson

3. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox – Maggie O’Farrell

4. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants – Malcolm Gladwell

5. The Simple Life – Rhonda Hetzel

Other Books

6. Save Karyn – Karyn Bosnak

7.The Child Poverty Debate – Jonathan Boston + Simon Chapple

8. The Wages of Sin: A New Zealand Prostitute’s Story – Jean Turvey

9. Blistered Days – Lily Brett

10. Bergdorf Blondes – Plum Sykes

11. A Year of Mornings – Maria Vettese + Stephanie Barnes

12. Blood Money: Wasted Billions Lost Lives and Corporate Greed in Iraq – T. Christian Miller

13. Fashion Babylon – Imogen Edwards-Jones + Anonymous

Have you read anything this month that you’d recommend I add to my pile of books? 

Simple Matters

January 29, 2016

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Simple Matters: Living With Less and Ending Up With More by Erin Boyle is without a doubt the best book I’ve read this month (and I’ve read twelve books so far). Erin is the author behind Reading My Tea Leaves, which is in itself a well-written and pleasantly presented online journal that focuses on a ‘practical and purposeful approach to a simple, sustainable life’. Erin’s book Simple Matters is a natural extension of the blog, providing fresh and detailed insight to the mundane objects and activities that if viewed differently could be said to be more magical than mundane.

Erin encourages you to “imagine a home where you actually enjoyed looking at everything in it. From throw blankets, to toys, to books, to sponges…. Surround yourself with things of beauty, so that even in its messiest moments, your life still feels beautiful.” In my haste to indulge in this book I purchased the Kindle version, it’s one of the few books which I’ve read an e-copy of and instantly known that a hard copy must most certainly find its way to my bookshelf. This book is perfect for anyone interested in the simple life, without the judgement and guilt of exactly how ‘simple’ you want to go. Useful tips woven into personal anecdotes filled with Erin’s triumphs and lessons.

And being an expectant mother who hasn’t wanted to buy everything, or have everything, Erin had advice that seemed to so beautifully resonate with my approach, “find your rhythm first; then find the things that match” I couldn’t agree more! By far the best book I’ve read this year, and I might further add that it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a while.

Some notable books read this month: Princess: An Appalling Indictment of the Treatment of Women in Saudi Arabia – Jean P. Sasson | The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox – Maggie O’Farrell | David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants – Malcolm Gladwell

Other books read this month: Save Karyn – Karyn Bosnak | The Child Poverty Debate – Jonathan Boston + Simon Chapple | The Wages of Sin: A New Zealand Prostitute’s Story – Jean Turvey | Blistered Days – Lily Brett | Bergdorf Blondes – Plum Sykes | A Year of Mornings – Maria Vettese + Stephanie Barnes | Blood Money: Wasted Billions Lost Lives and Corporate Greed in Iraq – T. Christian Miller | Fashion Babylon – Imogen Edwards-Jones + Anonymous

Quiet Morning Scenes

January 20, 2016

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I now wake up slowly and gently in the morning, without an alarm clock. Being spared the need for numerous trips to the loo through the night I head to the bathroom, I come back to bed and lie on my side with a pillow between my legs and wait. Wait for it to begin. When it does, I’ll reach over for Patrick’s hand. Half asleep he’ll reposition himself against me, his hand resting on my belly. I wait again, but never for too long because the antics commence as if on cue. We feel nudges and kicks and elbows and feet. In a few seconds I’ll hear Patrick smile. Does that sound odd, that I hear him smile? I say that because I usually have my back to him but I feel like I can hear his facial muscles move into a smile. We spend a good portion of this quiet time talking to and playing with our baby and most of all trying to tickle that little foot!

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