Category Archives: Life

25 Questions with… Holistic Health Honey

Cindra | Holistic Health Honey |

You might remember this beautiful soul from the Love Yourself Well workshop I went to a couple of months back. Cindra, aka Holistic Health Honey, is a big-hearted holistic health coach and yoga teacher with a passion for leading people to the life they desire.

Hit her website to grab her free 7 Days To Self Love program & find her on Facebook and Instagram.

If you’re in the Newcastle area, Cindra’s running a 3-part yoga series (Sleep, Stress & Fatigue) over 3 weeks starting this Monday July 13th. Get in quick to nab a ticket!

1. What should we call you?

I think my name is pretty hard to shorten (Cindra) but I’m otherwise know as Holistic Health Honey!

2. Who do you share your abode with?

My gorgeous wife, Melanie.

3. What do you do to pay the bills?

Living my soul purpose of teaching yoga and teaching people how to love themselves and nourish their bodies with food (holistic health coach)!

4. What do you wish you did to pay the bills?

Doing it!

5. Could you ever be (or are you) vegan?

I am… Although I like to say “plant based”…Less judgement!

Cindra follows a plant-based diet |

6. Favourite TV show at the moment:

‘Face Off,’ a special effects makeup reality series

7. Facebook, Twitter or Instagram:

Instagram for inspiration, Facebook for business

8. Your superpower of choice?

Reading people’s minds would be super handy for my job!

9. Coolest thing you own:

My health.

10. Your favourite meal to cook:

I am not the world’s best… Although I am okay at smoothie bowls and ice cream (all goes in the blender, haha)

11. Your favourite meal to eat:

Plant-based Mexican food from our favourite restaurant in Vancouver, Canada

12. Least favourite food:

Anything processed.

13. Cheese plate or epic dessert:

Raw dessert! Cheese is obviously out.

14. Your beverage order:

Flat white on coconut milk, Imbibe water kefir or organic white wine!

Cindra's drink order |

15. Person you’d most like to have said beverage with right now:

My soul sister who lives too far away, Bubblegummy.

16. Last book you read:

The Desire Map – Danielle LaPorte (– I love Danielle too! Liz x)

17. Last movie you saw:

Spy. It was so funny I literally slapped my knee in laughter!

18. Who would play you in a movie:

Elizabeth Banks.

19. Your most favourite trip:

Honeymoon travelling for 3.5 months through the US, Europe, UK and Mexico.

20. Silver or gold:

White gold

21. Your favourite item of clothing:

Leopard print fake fur coat

22. Exercise of choice:

Always yoga!

Silly question | Holistic Health Honey |

23. Can you touch your toes?:


24. Something you’re grateful for today:

Grateful for you Liz! For being such a wonderful supporter for all I do. You’re truly special! (– Aww shucks! Liz x)

25. Best song to dance to:

At the moment, anything from Major Lazer’s new album

Thanks Cindra! Raw desserts are the best, aren’t they 🙂

x Liz

25 questions with… The Bountiful Hunter

Donna, The Bountiful Hunter | 25 questions |

A former colleague of mine and now a foodie friend, Donna shares her favourite recipes and adventures in deliciousness at The Bountiful Hunter. She’s also a Twitter fiend, especially during Masterchef. You can follow her musings via @DonnaClucas.

1. What should we call you?

Donna, Warrior Foodie and Princess of Bedsocks

2. Who do you share your abode with?

My hubby of 25 years who is affectionately known by all as Tonester the Food Techy; the 18 year old carbohydrate and protein eating son Liam; two Jack Russell puppies named Jackie and Holly (it should be noted that Holly suffers with memory loss so won’t remember where you threw the tennis ball); and Jim, my old mum’s cockatiel, who we inherited when she went into care. Jim is approximately 36 years old and refuses to literally drop off the perch!

3. What do you do to pay the bills?

I’m a nurse working in Aboriginal Chronic Disease and loving it!

4. What do you wish you did to pay the bills?

I always wanted to be a sought after back up singer because I’m absolutely sensational and have a vocal range to match Renee Geyer (at least that’s what I think I sound like in both the car and shower). I have a rather curvaceous figure and would look good in a little tight-fitting black dress with heels belting out a bluesy number! Failing a singing career, I would love to be a dairy farmer producing boutique milk and cream products and suppling expensive cheeses to super chefs like Josh Niland 😉

Singing dairy farmer | 25 questions |

5. Could you ever be (or are you) vegan?

Nah! I love food and cutting out half of the food supply would be like cutting off my right arm. Bacon! Who doesn’t love bacon! In saying that though, I try to buy ethically raised animal products and visit local farmers’ markets.

6. Favourite TV show at the moment:

Game of Thrones, Masterchef for the tweets and anything foodie related. Though Heston doesn’t rock my boat; he’s just a bit too over exposed at the moment!

7. Facebook, Twitter or Instagram:

I’m loving Twitter at the moment, leaning more and more towards Insta, and leaning away from Facebook.

8. Your superpower of choice?

I’d love to know what people are REALLY thinking. I could really mess with people then!

9. Coolest thing you own:

My lidded enamel roasting pans from Peters of Kensington – they bake the most amazing sourdough loaves – and my Christmas holly glasses. I bought them in London circa 1988 and they come out every Christmas for the staff office party.

Donna's Sourdough | 25 questions |

10. Your favourite meal to cook:

The simple meals that family and friends like to eat. Apparently my roast chook and crunchy potatoes are worth sacrificing your first born for.

11. Your favourite meal to eat:

Such a difficult question. I love most foods, particularly the Asian cultures with their fresh herbs and spices. But really, if I get offered a sausage on a bread roll that has been made with love, I’ll be very happy indeed (sorry, too much Masterchef watching). Desserts are a different story: creme caramel, pannacotta and lemon tart, in that order of preference.

12. Least favourite food:

Anything that has had an animal body fluid pass through it! Offal, yuk schmuck! And okra… I just don’t get that at all.

13. Cheese plate or epic dessert:

See above, but I would like the cheese plate as well to dwell on!

14. Your beverage order:

Apple and pear ciders. I was drinking them before they were trendy. Love a good glass of bubbles too, and I don’t mind a sticky at the end of the meal with the desserts and cheese above.

Cool ciders | 25 questions |

15. Person you’d most like to have said beverage with right now:

It’s a toss up between Tonester and Colin Firth. I think Colin would buy me a decent glass of bubbles where as Tone would get the cider on tap.

16. Last book you read:

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. Lovely

17. Last movie you saw:

I can’t remember but Boyhood left a lasting impression on me.

18. Who would play you in a movie:

Susan Sarandon – it’s the curves, you know…

19. Your most favourite trip:

Love the trip up to the North Coast on our way to Scotts Head. As soon as we come up over the bridge at Taree and see the Manning River and those fabulous mountains, I know I’ve come home and feel immediately at ease. Also love any trip around New Zealand. Give me a big river and big mountains and I’m happy.

20. Silver or gold:

Depends what I’m wearing. I have jewellery in both.

21. Your favourite item of clothing:

Bedsocks and trackies in winter; sarong in summer. They all reek of comfort and relaxation.

Bush walk & bike ride| 25 questions |

23. Can you touch your toes?:

Yes I can, as a matter of fact!

24. Something you’re grateful for today:

My health. As I get older, I understand how we need our health to get to the best parts of our lives.

25. Best song to dance to:

Groove Armada’s ‘I see you baby’

Great party tune Donna & I don’t think many would turn down a glass of champers with Mr Darcy!

Thanks for answering my 25 questions 🙂

x Liz

Peptalk: Monday June 1st – This is it.

Monday June 1 |

Happy Monday/June/Winter, friends.

(And happy Monday/June to my Northern Hemisphere friends)

Let’s make the most of it.

x Liz

2015: The year menstruation made the big time

Girl walking |

I know it’s not even June but I’m calling it. And it’s about time.
They’ve been all over the news this year and whether you see them as a necessary evil or a deep connection to the divine feminine, periods are something around 50% of the population will directly experience. Hopefully through their experiences with the various ladies in their lives (from mothers to lovers), the majority of the other 50% could hardly claim ignorance to them either.

The way periods and menstruation are dealt with in politics, advertising and general discourse however, could easily make you think Brick Tamland is the main source of some peoples’ sex-ed.

The blue liquid loved by advertisers, whispers of “that time of the month” and pretty floral packaging make it seem like it all has nothing to do with the “blood coursing from our uteri like a crimson landslide“. The kerfuffle these realistic images caused is proof of that: just as many men & women seemed to shout it down as offensive and unnecessary as those who praised it.

So why are we so euphemistic about a perfectly natural and essential bodily function?
Is it because men have traditionally run the show when it comes to media and advertising? No, I don’t think it’s the fault of blokes alone that we ladies feel like we have to smuggle tampons into the work bathroom and that lube & nicotine patches are considered more essential to public health than sanitary products. I’m not going to dive too deep into the wave of “tamponomics” sweeping Aussie politics right now, but if you haven’t signed the petition to have the GST removed from sanitary products, please go do it here.

It seems to be relatively unheard of to talk about periods with other women (other than in a whisper when you need to deal with a surprise guest) let alone with men or on a larger stage. We ladies are most definitely part of the problem. For a current example that struck me as interesting: of the assortment of premiers, chief ministers and treasurers Triple J’s Hack program spoke to about lifting the tampon tax; MPs Dave, Tim, Andrew and Tom were quite happy to scrap it. Gladys, Liberal Treasurer for NSW, wasn’t keen to give a position yet and wants to discuss it further. Thanks fellas but Gladys, come on sister!

The last taboo
I loved the story that came out earlier in the year of female tennis player Heather Watson blaming her poor Australian Open performance on her period. Journos said she broke “the last taboo in sport” by speaking of it. I really don’t think we can blame the lads for letting it get to that point. Why is it such a rarity for women, especially those in sport, to talk about how their period affects them? Because surely it does. Surely Cathy Freeman was watching the calendar in the lead up to Sydney 2000. Performance aside, most girls wouldn’t be putting their hand up to wear that skintight onesie on day 29 of her cycle.

I think women fear being seen to have any weaknesses that relate to their gender. We aim to look tough, seamlessly put together and in control. I know I, and a handful of my friends, loathe the idea that we’ll fall into any kind of stereotypical emotional-chocolate-feasting mess and endure headaches, cramps and other general crappiness. Even if it becomes reality, it has got to get pretty bad for us to consider calling in sick to work or skipping the gym. It might mean we have to pop a painkiller to get through an afternoon meeting or drop a few reps but we’ll do what we can to soldier on, without letting anyone in on the details (at least until a Friday night wine with a close mate).

The tide seems to be turning steadily.
Pioneering underwear makers Dear Kate recently put together a video series of women talking about their “first time” and Hello Flo’s The Period Fairy is another fun one to check out. These are social media-friendly, won’t make awkward Brick Tamland-types run for the hills and will hopefully contribute to more conversation, better understanding and continued cross-gender education in our community.

Thankful Thursday: May 14th

Train track at sunset |

Here’s what’s making my week:

  • Taking a break from training. After a weak effort last weekend, my trainer recommended I take a rest week. The only time I’ve ever taken that long off was at Christmas in 2013. So… fair call. I won’t know until next week if it’s had any effect on my lifting but I certainly feel calmer and well rested.
  • Netflix. We finally pulled the trigger on letting the juggernaut into our minimal TV household. It could be dangerous but lately, there’s really not much worth watching on free-to-air anyway. So far, I’m loving Chef’s Table, OITNB and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
  • Yoga. We had a lovely practice at Gritshed tonight with a few new faces which was fabulous. We also did “Storytime Yin” last Friday at Ashtanga Yoga Newcastle and learnt about Hindu goddess Kali while we worked our fascia.
  • Having a delightful feast with friends. Check out my post about our lovely lunch at Reef Restaurant.
  • Getting into some flow at work. The Csikszentmihalyi kind. It’s been hectic but I’ve liked my involvement.
  • Getting to spend time with my bestie. We’ve been going strong since Day One of kindergarten and I can’t wait to have her next to me when I get married later this year.
  • Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

    x Liz

    Photo note: Image taken on my iPhone (from my car window while stopped at the lights) #nofilter.

Peptalk: Set your vision – Paul Arden

Without having a goal | Paul Arden |

I’ve just last week started reading the ol’ (literally old; it was written in the 1930s!) “How to win friends and influence people” after my new manager gifted me a copy. Even though the capital of China is still Peking in this book, it’s still incredibly relevant. Our means of communication have changed but our motivators are essentially still the same.

Paul Arden’s book “It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be” – the source of the above quote – jumped out at me quite a few years ago but I thought it was going to be a motivational self help book. It wasn’t, so I left it on my shelf. (I think I needed an Eat Pray Love scenario. *insert eye roll* )

With “How to win friends” on my mind, I picked this book back up recently realising it’s far more interesting to me now. Regardless of whether you’re focusing on nailing one big goal or are honing in on your core desired feelings, aiming for something gives you a test for success, a soundboard for big decisions and basically, a reason to keep on keeping on.

x Liz

Photo note: Taken on my iPhone.

Thankful Thursday: May 7th

Sunrise |

Here’s what’s keeping heart & soul together this week <3

  • Early workouts & awesome sunrises: The above was today’s cracker.
  • Ladies Breakfast: What started as a small group of girls from our male dominated team at work doing lunch together has been gradually morphing into a mini support circle of professional local ladies who brainstorm & troubleshoot monthly over eggs benedict. We met up this morning to work through a new idea. Exciting & energising!
  • Stand-up desk: It’s been 2 weeks since I inherited a stand-up desk at work & I’m loving it! My neck, back & shoulders are feeling so much better for it. I’ll have to do a post on it soon.
  • Yoga: I’ve had to miss a few sessions over the last couple of weeks & it was awesome to get back into it tonight.

What are you grateful for this week?

x Liz

Photo note: Snapped on my iPhone #nofilter.

Peptalk: You deserve your love

You deserve love - Buddha quote |

…and Buddha don’t lie.

As part of the safety demonstration on a plane, they always tell you to fasten your own seatbelt/oxygen mask/life jacket first before helping those around you, even children.

Apply that to your life & love yourself first.

Without your own source of oxygen, you’re of no real use to anyone else!

x Liz

Photo note: Image from Death to the Stock Photo

Wisdom from ‘Frozen’ creator Chris Buck

Frozen creator Chris Buck |

Whether you loved it, hated it, or couldn’t care less about it, you’ve got to admit that Disney’s Frozen has taken the toddler to tween (and beyond!) market by storm.

Creator of the film, Chris Buck, braved the cyclone to tell his story to an eager crowd at Newcastle’s Civic Theatre last week.

Discussing his own life story – entwining both his personal and professional journey – Buck’s talk No Regrets: Behind the scenes of a creative life was part of the University of Newcastle’s Disruptive Innovation Works lecture series.

As someone who is fairly indifferent to animated feature films and certainly isn’t studying to someday make a big break in Hollywood, I was surprised how inspiring, interesting and tweet-worthy Buck’s talk was. Perhaps I should’ve given more credit to the man who spent his 50th birthday collecting an Oscar for his efforts.

He’s an engaging speaker able to call upon a raft of life experiences to make thoughtful comments on a range of topics. Elegantly answering audience questions on Disney’s portrayal of social and gender diversity (“Disney isn’t a machine. We’re people. We respond to society; we’re part of it”) through to sharing enviable wisdom gained following his son’s sudden death, (“You can inspire people, give them hope, make the world a better place”) Buck has clearly come a long way from his days as the reserved and oft-forgotten about middle child of six.

Buck’s career so far has been mostly conventional; albeit highly successful of course and peppered with big name mentors and anecdotes about the ol’ uni days with his mate Tim. Tim Burton, that is. He says one of his secrets to success is keeping in touch with those old friends – the quiet chap rocking the cardigan in your class could well be your ticket to collaborative success.

As a director, learning to say no was Buck’s biggest take-home tip, alongside allowing for failure to be an option – it’s the key to creativity.

My favourite piece of advice though was around not getting too attached to your ideas before you’ve pitched them. When Buck was considering returning to the Disney fold, he was asked to pitch a so-good-they-can’t-refuse film idea to seal the deal. Rather than put all his hopes and dreams on one big idea, he worked on three options in the hope that at least something somewhere in one of them would strike interest with the team. Strike interest it did: one of those became Frozen and another is currently in the production pipeline!

While the broader learnings of his life were artfully delivered, Buck’s behind the scenes directors-commentary style knowledge was really interesting to me. The lengths he went to with research for Frozen, for example, show that so much more than I thought goes into crafting a quality kids’ film.

The animation team were taken on an arctic excursion to better understand how a young woman in a heavy dress would walk through deep snow. They had singing lessons to learn more about how an effective singing body moves. A reindeer was brought into the studio to bring clarity on animating such a beast. Even a hair stylist was recruited to design the ice princess looks which are no doubt helping to drive the braid’s current resurgence.

Plenty of companies (such as the one I work for) conduct customer research, competitor analysis and delve into data to help make decisions, but for some reason it surprised me that the teams for animated films would do this too. Just because a movie might fit in the “kids” category, doesn’t mean it’s not huge business; Disney didn’t just fall into its multi-billion-dollar profit pool!

Interestingly, while all this research is evident in the film, Buck was quick to point out that “we don’t create realistic worlds; we create believable ones”. He said that making an animated film too realistic can actually be creepy. The research done by the teams on reindeer, for example, gave them the knowledge that the animals are “dumber than cows” and that they go through antler-shedding seasons, which often leaves them with a not-so crowd-pleasing bloodied stump or two atop their head. Needless to say, Frozen’s reindeer Sven shows no signs of a sad case of lost antler but does show the far more palatable and humorous stupidity trait.

But of course, all the believability is nothing without a decent story. Buck said that once the film’s “true north” was determined (Anna’s act of true love) every decision was made with that in mind.

Originally, Buck said, Anna and Elsa weren’t going to be sisters and Elsa was shaping up to be a villain. I couldn’t help but think of parallels with Wicked’s misunderstood Elphaba with this revelation. Once the now plague-proportion viral hitLet It Go was brought to the set though, the film adjusted its course.

I have to say, not being a Disney diehard or a wannabe animator, I wasn’t jumping out of my skin for this talk when it was first announced but Chris Buck had me drawn in from the moment he hit the stage. Thanks to The University of Newcastle for bringing him and his world of knowledge to our cyclonic shores. Such interesting insight into the creative processes of other people and other industries shared by a truly talented creative leader.

x Liz

P.s. For more snippets of Chris Buck’s talk, check out #disruptUON

Photo note: Image by the steady hand of @y_mccall

Love Yourself Well

Love yourself well workshop |

Last night I was lucky enough to join 11 other ladies at Holistic Healthy Honey Cindra Banks’ Love Yourself Well Workshop. In an intimate safe space with raw emotion, bliss balls and herbal tea, strangers became journey(wo)men on the quest for self love.

While Cindra may look the epitome of healthy living, it hasn’t always been that way. The Love Yourself Well Workshop offers an introduction to the healing techniques – such as yoga, a gratitude practice and affirmations – that helped her find her way back to self love and acceptance.

We each received a little goodie bag too with our own affirmation (that’s mine in the photo above) and some assorted samples. It reminded me of an affirmation I used to use regularly & still love:

Every day in every way, I am getting better and better – Emile Coue

It was a lovely evening. My only criticism was that it was too short – it could’ve been a full-day session 🙂 As one participant said, it’s hard to talk about self love with others without feeling like you’re burdening them. I hope Cindra has many more planned!

x Liz

Peptalk: What will be your Space Jam?

Has Kid President got some good stuff for you! Welcome to today’s #mondaymotivation where an 11-year-old kid in a suit will school you about breaking away from boring and finding your own personal Space Jam.

Until tomorrow, don’t stop believing… unless your dream is stupid.

x Liz

P.s. Credit goes to Jess for sharing this one with me.

Peptalk: Know that you can do this

Monday motivation: Heather Stillufsen |

Monday motivation, brought to you by Rose Hill Designs – Heather Stillufsen. She has the most beautiful illustrations & is well worth following for a regular dose of lovely things like this.

Enjoy your day; with however much coffee and laughter you need to make that happen.

x Liz


Photo note: Image from Rose Hill Designs – Heather Stillufsen.