Sunday, 26 July 2015

Bloggers United AU Melbourne Launch Event

 As some of you may know fellow blogger Jasmine from Sweetaholicbeauty and I founded Bloggers United AU who have been actively live since early this year.  

Sunday June 14th, 2015 at 1pm was when Bloggers United AU kicked off their first launch event in Melbourne. A range of bloggers gathered together to experience a taste of what Bloggers United AU have to offer, which happened to be an event that saw bloggers have presented workshops from brands and take home some valuable information about the blogging world.

What sets Bloggers United AU apart from what is currently out there is that we are a team of bloggers who dedicate there time with no payment, just the pleasure of helping one another out and having fun bringing bloggers and such influences together.
We create opportunities for bloggers and such influences to get together and discuss all the nitty gritty things in casual meet ups and then also have fun events where they are presented with meeting brands/PR's.

Benefit Australia - Showing us an exclusive preview of the They're Real that at the time had not yet been released, getting to play around and have a demo on how they are best applied. As well as getting a demo on the newly released Rollerlash that has been a take off hit. Bloggers were given deluxe samples of the Rollerlash to take home with them.

Enbacci - A stunning skincare range that was spoken on it's many uses and how you can add a good quality skincare into your routine after the gym. Bloggers were given deluxe samples of the cleansing range.

My Baby Companion - Kirby presented on behalf of her co-founder and her on the latest app that they have released which features products making it easier for Mums to select who are on the market for those much needed baby necessities. Helping to prepare for bubs has just become easier.

Cherie Bobbins - Cherie is a blogger herself who is an amazing motivational speaker for us. Cherie has successfully built her own blog and has collaborated with many brands that have seen her even appear on TV for Spotlight. Cherie talked us through how to make money whilst blogging!

We would still like to mention those brands who committed time to come in but unfortunately weren't able to make it in due to circumstances - apologies who were not able to make it on the day to present: Zassni Skincare, Mumsnfitness Wear and LUSH Cosmetics.

Thank you to the brands who contributed to the event which saw a large selection of generous goodies being carried out to the door with the Bloggers.

Our table features were kindly provided some snacks to the Bloggers to keep their energy levels up through the afternoon and to take home any in there bags as well:

The Chia Co - Dark Cacao Chia Pod's.

Bon Bon Melbourne - Handmade wrapping on chocolate

CoCos Pure- Coconut Water

Filled in the take home goodie bags were:

Major thanks goes out to The Meadow who kindly hosted us for the afternoon.
The Meadow, Level 1, 111 Queensbridge Street, Southbank

A stunningly unique and kitsch venue in the heart of Melbourne, right opposite Crown that boosts full of colour and space. Several rooms to choose from when hiring, fortunate for Bloggers United we had the place to ourselves. A venue that was ‘aww-ed’ at when coming in the front doors.

Plenty of on street parking right out the front of the venue as well as being close to crown for parking also. Short walk from train station or tram stops along the Yarra.

Photos below display rooms that Bloggers United used for the day.

The Common – main room for presenting/workshops. 

The Boardroom – for nibbles/drinks break room.

Most of all thank you to the Bloggers who came along to spend their afternoon with us.

Bloggers United AU are hitting up Perth next in mid August 2015, head over to the website for more details. We hope to see you at an event in your state soon.

Circus Oz But Wait... There's More [REVIEW]

What better way then to spend an evening at the Circus, along the Yarra River in Melbourne at Birrarung Marr Park we ventured out to see Circus Oz for there performance 'But Wait... There's More' before they set foot off to new areas for the rest of Australia to see.

The cast of Circus Oz / Image: Rob Blackburn

When people say to you 'But wait... There's More' it's always such an exciting thing to here and Circus Oz truly delivered on that statement.
My eyes have laid sight on many Circus acts before but there is a clear difference between Circus Oz to others in that they do many acts with multiple acrobats in them. I'm not talking your one or two extras; I'm talking at times 5+ acrobats in the one. Not only that but a live band was on stage as well.

Opening up the show saw the acrobats come out of a hot air balloon like basket from the floor. One after another they all piled out of the basket that would fit no more then three (3) comfortably but there was acrobat after acrobat coming out of this basket. Which still has me a bit puzzled as to how they made that trick work as I couldn't see anything on the floor as to how they would exit out, good work on that trick - you had me boggled.

The phenomenal synchronous of the acrobats / Image: Rob Blackburn

How close Circus Oz can perform right next to one another is phenomenal. Circus Oz for me was that next step in amazement before your eyes. Acts were seen with women holding men up on the trapeze ropes, men holding women on their shoulders whilst riding a unicycle, acrobats jumping through shapes stacked from the ground and lots more.
You'll be sharing awhs, giggles and applauding claps with the other audience patrons as you are thrilled from your seat.

The cast of Circus Oz / Image: Rob Blackburn

The performance ran for roughly two (2) hours and had an interval break of 20 minutes. In the foyer of the big top you are able to purchase merchandise, nibbles and drinks, keeping you entertainment during the interval.  The show is for all ages and children are invited to attend as well.

Circus Oz is around in Victoria until the 2nd of September then moving along up North to New South Wales. Check out there scheduling via their website for more details on show times.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Circus Oz. I received tickets to the show above in exchange for its promotion here. I received no payment for this review and all opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.

Monday, 20 July 2015

FreshFlowers.com.au REVIEW

FreshFlowers.com.au is an online florist who delivers flowers in Melbourne and other metropolitan areas in Australia - even overseas by arrangements. A fantastic user friendly site that is easy to navigate around when making an order. Filter by occasion, flower, style, price or by their market specials. Same day delivery is possible if orders are placed before 2pm on weekdays and 10am during Saturdays. Fresh Flowers have got you covered if you accidentally forget a birthday and are stuck for time.

Having fresh flowers in your home or on your desk at home are always a day brightener. There is something about having flowers delivered to your door even more special.

Fresh Flowers kindly gifted me 12 Red Kisses (12 stunning premium red roses delivered in a sophisticated black corrugated box) which costs $79.95. Long stemmed roses that sat perfectly aligned in a long black box wrapped with tissue paper and hessian cuts.

Each rose had its own individual little water supply sachet to keep them fresh for their journey to your front doorstep. Extra 'flower food' for you to pop into your vase at home is likewise included. Upon ordering, you will receive a free little card to write a personalized message to your gift receiver.

My order was placed at 10:30am to be delivered to a business address. I received a call from the florist at around 4:10pm who wanted to seek an alternative residential address in case they could not arrive before the close of business. A few minutes before 5pm, the 12 Red Kisses were at my home waiting for me. My sister took receivership of at the front door feeling a little lucky that the flowers we given to her.  Sorry Katt, but they were mine.

A week on and my flowers are still as fresh (minus a few petals that need to be shed) as when they first arrived..

Fresh Flowers not only have the usual bouquets of flowers, but they have some unique flower presentation arrangements. One can order flowers in an upright presentation box, vases, flower arrangements into a cupcake, hessian bags or a mini bucket.

Payment can be made via PayPal or credit card. Super easy once again. If you sign up to be a member, you will get 10% off your first order. There's a standard delivery fee of $10, which is great.

Fresh Flowers is definitely an online florist I will be using in future for my flower orders, as their service was fabulous and they're super easy to transact with. Prices start at the $29.99 mark and go all the way up to $998 (300 red roses, that's some Kanye West and Kim Kardashian stuff there), average pricing is around the $50 - $80 range.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by FreshFlowers.com.au. I received the above mentioned product for consideration. I was compensated for this post but policy of honesty always and all opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own was used against this review.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

INTERVIEW: Rhiannon Parr - Maxine's Shape-Up Challenge Body Transformation

Whilst taking part in the Maxine's Shape-Up Challenge I was really inspired by one of the girls who was also taking part in the challenge, in which I found her via the hashtags of Maxine's Shape-Up Challenge on Instagram. Rhiannon was showing major dedication and then when Rhiannon would upload her progress comparison photos I was just blown away.
I set myself to lose the last bit of weight in the Maxine's Shape-Up Challenge but unfortunately I couldn't remain committed to the challenge, I wouldn't say I failed because I learnt a lot and I still dropped weight with also keeping it off to this day but mentally I wasn't all there for this challenge.

I approached Rhiannon in the hopes to interview her on my blog and Rhiannon was delighted to answer a few questions. After interviewing Rhiannon, she has inspired me all over again and once you have a read as well I am sure you'll be out there feeling the inspiration too.

Rhiannon completed Maxine's Shape-Up Challenge successfully coming out with a Top 50 place, in my eyes Rhiannon was the winner. I honestly thought Rhiannon did the most eye sore body transformation that just makes you know that if you really put your mind to it, that you can do it too.

Rhiannon Parr
Instagram: @shape_up_girl

                 Rhiannon's Body Transformation Shots - Before and After

Losing weight isn't the easiest task in the world as we know it needs a lot of commitment and dedication to really achieve. How did you first start out exercise wise to get into shape?
I’ve always struggled with my weight. My husband and I had fallen into the never ending cycle of takeout and inactivity. Both of us work full time jobs, with long hours and long days cured by instant gratification of wine and an unhealthy diet.

We’d tried to join a gym and get fit before, but it always ended with extra excuses to not go as we had no direction or focus. When you don’t see results it’s very hard to keep up the motivation. It all seems too hard, and the excuses creep back out. It’s also hard to find something you can do together as a couple, and keep the same pace.

This time it was different. Over Christmas 2014, we’d just sold our house in order to begin building our dream home and moved back in with my wonderful mum. Hubby and I decided we wanted to get out the house and do something together. We ended up at Anytime Fitness in Cessnock on Christmas Eve. We were welcomed and soon signed on to see their Personal Trainer regularly, Mista from Pro Fit Australia.

We went from zero fitness and overweight to kettlebell swings and high intensity cardio. We learned the basics in kickboxing and we tried all different types of workouts. Mista busted our butts!

A few weeks later in January 2015 I saw the ASN 10 week body transformation challenge advertised. Hubby and I both signed on. 2 weeks later Maxs and Maxines also started. We decided to do both challenges at the same time. Something clicked in my mind. I don’t know why but I was so determined, so energised and dedicated to see change.

So as the challenges progressed, we had to change our approach to training to target results. Weight training now dominates our gym sessions. We love it

Prior to the Maxines Challenge did you try any other diets?

Yes! I was the girl who had done cleanses, detoxes, became obsessed with sporadic exercise routines, body wraps, shakes, protein only diets and weird quick fixes.

There wasn’t much I wasn’t willing to try to find a “fat cure”. I was saving to try isagenix and had ordered supps and teas from the internet spruiked as fat burners and ab blasters. I wanted a quick fix. I have yoga mats and exercise videos and games hidden throughout the house.

I was relentless in the fact I didn’t like exercise.

Why was it that the Maxines Challenge worked for you?

It gave me a deadline. I had 12 weeks to do it, to change my ways.

I am extremely competitive and I had a reason to “beat” my before photo. It would have been devastating to not have had a better after photo – one that reflected all my hard work.

I could see that I was the prize… If I took this seriously and the whole process worked – I’d become something better than I currently was. It could change my whole life and it would give me purpose.

I’m also a creature of habit – and the nutrition guide was easy to follow and stick to. After 12 weeks I was a different person, all of these new things were routine.

What is your favourite exercise?

I love weights training. My favourite routine is probably Abs and Shoulders together. I had a PB the other night on the shoulder press with 20kg each side! The great thing about weights is that you only do what you can do. But you always strive for the next best. It’s easy to see progress when you know you are lifting more, you can do more reps or when you start to see that definition.

I love weight training because I can do them with my husband too. We do it together and it’s our daily catch up, de-stress and we push each other through.

What did you find to be the most challenging part when you were trying to lose weight?

Getting out of my head! I am the biggest problem I have. Once I have said “I Can’t” …my body won’t. Plenty of times, I’ve hindered my own achievements by simply assuming I can’t and giving up.

It can also be hard to introduce new things into your routine. Every week or so during the challenge we upped the ante. I remember thinking it was so much harder than yesterday at the time. It gradually all became “normal” – even the 4.30am fasted cardio became routine during the challenge! Although I have to praise my husband for putting up with all my complaining!

How did you handle food cravings? 

I didn’t really have a lot of food cravings until we began our ‘shred’ phase of the challenge. We approached most of the challenge with a balance where we could have one cheat meal a week. This would be fish and chips or something that was designed to shock our bodies. The rest of the time, I loosely followed the Maxine’s nutrition guide.

In the final weeks, we changed our diet to try and “shred” as much fat from our bodies in conjunction with fasted cardio. We had nothing but lean cuts of protein, plenty of greens, no fruit, carbs only in the form of morning oats and pre/post workout, no added sugar, no added salt. This was a body builder’s comp prep style approach. At the same time we were water loading (up to 8 litres a day). During this phase, we were so “in the zone” counting water and eating 6-7 meals a day that you don’t want for anything else. You live so mechanically by when you need to eat that it all works out. It’s not sustainable – but it’s interesting to be so in tune with your body and what it needs.

Rhiannon and her husband David

Apart from yourself, who was motivating you along the way? (Certain fitness pages, fitness icons etc)

My amazing husband David came on the journey with me and made his own transformation in the Max Challenge. My wonderful mum put up with our early morning and evening departures and even changed up her own diet – noticing results herself.

My colleagues all supported my journey – understanding my strange diet changes and why I wanted to go home on the dot.

However some of the greatest support came from our PT - Mista Sauer of Pro Fit Australia and the wonderful team at Anytime Fitness Cessnock. These guys helped us enormously, and continue to provide a cheer squad to keep us on track.

Mista took out First Place Masters and First Place Novice at the NABBA Sydney Grand Classic and Second Place at the NABBA Southern Hemisphere Championship. It’s wonderful to learn from the pros.

What would be your favourite motivational quote?

I like sharing motivational quotes all the time on my Instagram because our daily lives get in the way and sometimes we need reminding that we are on track or to get back on track or to change it up.

One that resounds with me right now is: “Be strong, you never know who you are inspiring”.

What happens now, where will Rhiannon go? (Fun Runs, challenges, studying fitness etc)

I’m registering for the second round of Maxines Challenge starting in August 2015. Although this time I have colleagues, people from my online community and new and old friends joining me. I’m in awe of how big my network has grown since doing Maxines and the people who have reached out to me because of my results. When I started it was about me. Now it’s much larger than that.

I’ve always said I didn’t have a goal and it remains true. If I set a glass ceiling I can’t crash through it! I’ve never known what I am actually capable of and I keep surprising myself to date. Who knows? I could end up in a sparkly bikini on stage over the next two years – just to test myself. One thing is certain – I’m loving the results that I’m obtaining through what I’m doing and I’m still going to be posting selfie spam on Instagram!

Be sure to flick Rhiannon a follow on Instagram - where you can follow her journey and see all her dedicated photos to how hard she is working.
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