Friday, June 17, 2011

We All Need A Reminder To Get Our 5 Serves Of Vege.


And this is way cuter than any post-it note.

I've Always Wanted To Meet Sir Richard Branson.

Sure, there have been times when I've just hoped we'd be introduced so I could berate him about how my Virgin flights always run late, but that's just when I'm bitter and stranded in an airport line between a huffing businessman and a crying toddler. Mostly, I'd just like the chance to pick ol' Richie's brain. 

I'm dying to know how he has enough time to build such a ginormous business and still have a good time when I'm so tired by 5:30pm Friday I can barely stay awake for a late session movie. The secret, it seems, is staying healthy and (in the words of that horrid Healthy Choice ad) looking after yourself.  

"If your body is sharp, your brain will be sharp," says Richard

Words to live by, I reckon.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Do You Sweat In Front Of Your Significant Other?

Daily Mail

The Kardashians return to our TV screens next week (which might be good news or a form of torture, depending on what side of the reality TV fence you sit on) and there's no secret that one of the biggest "bombshells" of the new season is that Kim and her giant ass get engaged – to sportsman Kris Humphries. 

And like any celebrity bride-to-be, Kim is working out like a maniac to perfect her body in time for her big day. And maybe she thinks her man needs a makeover too, because she's been taking Kris with her to bootcamp. I wish I could bond with a boyfriend in that way, but I just can't. I don't like going to the gym with a partner – I put it down to a very traumatising incident that involved me attempting to show off my running skills in front of a ex-beau and flying off the treadmill only to land ass first (and red faced) in front of him. F

or me, it's too much pressure. I want to look good in front of a love interest. And I know I do not look good when I'm sweating and panting and flying off treadmills at 12km/hr. Where do you stand on this dillemma? Do you workout with your partner? Do you care what you look like? Does he?

It's Cold. Quick, Someone Make A Curry.

 Salads are all good during the summer, but on a chilly winter night, nothing beats a steaming curry or casserole. This week I tried this vegetable jalfrezi (recipe courtesy of Jamie Oliver) and it was quite delicious, if I may say so myself. And I don't normally like vegetarian dishes at all. A good one to cook for a group of friends, you can prepare and put it on before everyone arrives then just let it simmer as the guests get acquainted. 

Vegetable Jalfrezi

You'll need:
• 1 medium onion
• 1 fresh red chilli
• a thumb-sized piece of fresh root ginger
• 2 cloves of garlic
• a small bunch of fresh coriander
• 2 red peppers
• 1 cauliflower
• 3 ripe tomatoes
• 1 small butternut squash
• 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas
• groundnut or vegetable oil
• a knob of butter
• ½ a 283g jar of Patak’s jalfrezi curry paste
• 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
• 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 lemons
• 200g natural yoghurt

What to do... 
1. Peel, halve and roughly chop your onion. Finely slice the chilli. Peel and finely slice the ginger and garlic. Pick the coriander leaves and finely chop the stalks. Halve, deseed and roughly chop the peppers. Break the green leaves off the cauliflower and discard. Break the cauliflower into florets and roughly chop the stem. Quarter the tomatoes. Carefully halve the butternut squash, then scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard. Slice the squash into inch-size wedges, leaving the peel on but removing any thick skin, then roughly chop into smaller pieces. Drain the chickpeas. 
2. Put a large casserole-type pan on a medium to high heat and add a couple of lugs of oil and the butter. Add the onions, chilli, ginger, garlic and coriander stalks and cook for 10 minutes, until softened and golden. Add the peppers, butternut squash, drained chickpeas and jalfrezi curry paste. Stir well to coat everything with the paste. Add the cauliflower, the fresh and tinned tomatoes and the vinegar. Fill 1 empty tin with water, pour into the pan and stir again. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 45 minutes with the lid on. Check the curry after 30 minutes and, if it still looks too liquidy, leave the lid off for the rest of the cooking time. When the veg are tender, taste and add salt and pepper – please season carefully – and a squeeze of lemon juice. 
3. Delicious with poppadums or my fluffy rice recipe and with a few spoonfuls of natural yoghurt, a sprinkle of coriander leaves and a few lemon wedges for squeezing over.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Got The Body. Now Get The Amazing Face.

One perk of working in magazines is that sometimes I get to see things before the rest of you regular folk do – to be honest, it normally doesn't excite me that much, unless I find a preview disk for Offspring, which often leads to an awkward victory dance (and sometimes a song!) But two days ago, I got a glimpse of an advance copy of Zoe Foster's new book Amazing Face.

I immediately wanted to read it – admittedly, more because I'm in love with the pun-tastic title, and less because I'm in love with all things beauty – but it was what it promises: Amazing. I was only two pages into the skincare chapter and I already had our beauty editor arming me with a slew of new products (that's another one of those aforementioned perks - beauty editors and their seemingly endless well of knowledge and product supply).

Then I did something I never ever do. I took the book to the photocopier with a notepad and pen. Twenty minutes later I had written so many notes and my hand was so sore that I gave up and just ordered the book on Booktopia. So if you are like me and you spend many minutes perfecting your body in the gym, but have no idea how to properly "put yer face on", let Zoe show you how.

And you too can finally figure out what to do with that rose-hip oil...

Oh, and did I mention there's a cute video. Starring Hamish Blake. Like I said... amazing.

A Story About How I Got Shingles.‏

First up, there is something you should know about my mum: She is a doctor. Well, she's not actually qualified as a doctor – as in she never got a certificate from a proper university authorising her to practice medicine – no, my mum doesn't need a degree. She's that good. And she juggles being a doctor with all her other trades, including but not limited to dietetics, law, financial planning and her actual profession – teaching.

So when I came home from school one afternoon in year 11 with a rash on my back, Dr Harrington had my shirt up for an examination faster than you could say "Is it itchy?" Her conclusion: shingles. Now, as much as I respect my Mum's "diagnosis", I did decide to go to an actual doctor (you know, the ones with the fancy degrees) to get a second opinion. "It's shingles," the doctor told me. Great. 

At first, I was reluctant to tell my somewhat smug mother that she'd been accurate in her finding, but in the end, I have to admit, I was lucky. Lucky my mum knew what shingles looked like. Lucky she told me to get to "another doctor". Because the thing about shingles is, if you don't start the medication within 72 hours of the symptoms appearing, the painful rash can last up to five weeks. So what are you looking for? Body & Soul published a good article on shingles last weekend that you can read here, but these are the highlights:
  • Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus – the same strain that causes chickenpox. When you get chickenpox, the virus stays in your nerves and can come back as shingles. So if you had The Pox when you were a kid, you could be at risk.
  • Symptoms begin with pain, itching or tingling of the skin and it may develop into a painful rash that blisters. For me, I initially noticed that the fabric of my school shirt was painfully irritating against my back.
  • The silver lining: You can't "catch" shingles from someone else. (Which means you can still go to work. Yay.)
And on a final note,  "Shingles is sometimes mistaken for other conditions, including dermatitis or a bacterial skin infection." Spare a thought for my poor uncle who went to the doctor about his itchy scalp, only to be told he had nits. Unlikely. He is bald. Turns out, it was shingles, but the misdiagnosis meant he missed the 72-hour window of opportunity for the anti-viral meds and was struck down for several weeks. So if you suspect you might have shingles, be pro-active and raise it with your doc.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

On The Couch: Bridesmaids.

What's the story? Lillian (Maya Rudolph) and Annie (Kristen Wiig) have been besties since birth, and it's all screams of excitement when Lillian gets a rock on her ring finger – until maid-of-honour Annie meets the other bridesmaids... including her new competition for the spot of BFF, the infuriatingy beautiful Helen (Rose Byrne).

Why it's worth paying $17.50 to see (possibly even more than once... I'll admit, I watched the Bridesmaids trailer and thought, "I don't know – it might get a few laughs..." I certainly did not think it would be hysterically funny. Boy, was I wrong. This totally lives up to it's hype as a kind of The Hangover for girls – it's light, it's well cast (I'm sure we'll be seeing more of these girls) and I dare you not to laugh out loud.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Most Hated Vegetable: Broccoli.


So it seems, my mum was on to something when she forced my sister and I to eat raw broccoli all those years when we were kids. "You can't even taste it if you have it with a bit of avocado," she would say. She was wrong. You can totally taste it. 
But I guess I should be grateful because a recent study has found that as well as a host of other benefits (like reducing blood cholesterol levels and helping to prevent certain cancers), those little green trees may actually help you live longer. 
And if you don't fancy the raw stuff (even with a scraping of mushed-up avocado), you can find my favourite broccoli recipe here.