20 Ways in 2020 You Can Save BIG!

Money

Get ready to smash all your financial goals this year with this list of financial tips that I have tried, tested and saved big from using!

1- stop buying unnecessary groceries

If we all know one thing about grocery shopping, it is that it adds up REALLY quickly. A ‘quick trip to the shops for milk’ can soon turn into a $60 trip with snacks, eggs, ice cream and gum added to the cart. But how does one stop overspending and over-shopping?

a) ALWAYS go to the shops with a list and stick to it

I won’t spend too much time on this topic because it is obvious, but still important to mention. No matter how little you are going to the shops, you must ALWAYS write a list.

A list allows you to see what you need because you can write it while looking in your fridge and pantry. It gives you visual cues for your grocery store trip and enables you ONLY to have to visit the areas where you need to purchase food from.

However, you need to promise yourself before entering the store that you will COMMIT TO THE LIST and only purchase what items are on there. If this scares you too much when you first start your list writing, you can give yourself some flexibility. So, what I used to do is leave three empty spaces on my list for items I couldn’t think of in the moment of list writing but knew I would remember once at the store. Then, as I got better at list writing, I didn’t need the empty spots anymore.

b) stop purchasing products that are easily made at home, for less money and less packaging

Aaah the good ‘ole grocery store trick – we go and see an amazingly convenient product and just have to get it. This can range from pre-spiralled zucchini pasta to frozen berries to even your daily cleaners. And all these items are marked up and sold for a price that at the moment might seem reasonable, but over time burns a hole in your wallet.

So, the solution for this problem is straightforward; if you become more organised with your shopping, you will be able to DIY theses items and not only save money but also save packaging which equals a happy planet.

Some of the most simple changes I made was to stop buying pre-frozen fruit and vegetables. Instead, I started buying the fruit and vegetables I wanted to freeze from local farmers markets or the discounted section in the fresh food aisle. This allowed me to buy bulk quantities and freeze them myself. 

My biggest tip if you start doing this is to ensure you cut up your produce and freeze it as soon as you get home from shopping; this ensures you get the job done early, so the food doesn’t go off in the fridge waiting for you to prep it.

Another way I saved was by making my cleaner out of white vinegar, baking soda and water (with the occasional addition of dish soap, if needed). This solution removes soap scum, kitchen counter stains and all general households messes. I just prep this solution in a spray bottle and I have a cleaner that cost me under $5!

2- Marie Kondo your life, but mainly your clothes

At the end of last year, I did the BIGGEST closet cleanout I have ever done. This involved three people, four hours and five massive bags that got immediately taken to the local charity shop.

Now, I had read and heard about how freeing closet cleanouts are, but I never expected to find it so cleansing and freeing of my frivolous shopping desire. Pre-clean-out, I was a massive shopper. New clothes were coming into my closet almost as fast as I forgot about them. I had tops and pants everywhere in my closet but still couldn’t find ANYTHING to wear. And that was purely because I was overwhelmed by the massive piles of fast fashion I had stuffed in my small apartment closet.

But now, with my reduced down and cleaned up wardrobe I can always find something to wear and can happily say I have not purchased ONE new clothing item since that cleanout in November.

Now, this isn’t to say I will never buy clothes again, but my mindset when it comes to adding to my closet is so much more clearer now. I now see something and ask myself “where will I put it/will it fit in my wardrobe?” and if my answer is no or I am unsure then it is a NO from me. And so far, it has worked.

3- shop local

I briefly mentioned this tip above, but I am going to be more specific in this point. Shopping local transformed my spending, especially my grocery costs. Farmers markets and local groceries have some fantastic deals and allow you to see exactly where your food is coming from. Also going to the Saturday or Sunday markets makes me feel committed to eating healthy and taking the time to prep my meals; leading to more meal prep which reduces overall food costs. 

So, next time you need fresh food, ditch the grocery store and look up where your local markets are.

4- track your spending

BUDGET, BUDGET, BUDGET! It is a word that is always thrown around in the savings world and one that sounds boring and overrated, but budgeting changed my money world.

Not only did it give me a clear insight into my spending habits which were a mix of good and bad, but it has enabled me to take full responsibility of my money. So, no more ‘accidental overspends’ or ‘forgotten spending’ because now I have to physically record EVERY bit of money that comes into my accounts and that leaves my accounts.

I use THIS budget template from Natalie Barbu, which I have added extra pages to to suit my accounts and income situation. But this template as it comes is a fantastic starting point, and I couldn’t recommend it more (+ it’s free).

5- find ways to make your favourite meals at home

I don’t know about you, but Thai Food is MY FAVOURITE food on this planet and lucky for me there are approximately 1 million Thai restaurants near where I live. So unfortunately, this convenience led me to lots of dinners out with friends which meant spending lots of money on the same meal (sometimes multiple times a week).

But here’s the thing, I LOVE cooking, and I cook all the time for myself, for friends and my family – but for some reason I just wasn’t cooking my favourite meals at home.

So I set myself a challenge, cook my Thai food order at home with healthier ingredients to see how easy it was and how much money I saved. 

And the results? 

Well, I have cooked so many pad thai’s and red curries, it is INSANE! And instead of spending $20+ on Thai food nights out, I am spending less than $5 a meal that I can stretch to feed me 2-3 times.

So moral of the story? You don’t have to cut your favourite meals out of your life, just stop looking at them as takeaway meals only. And instead, view them as a meal you can create in your kitchen, with your ingredients for less of your own money.

6- STOP buying drinks out and about

$4 water, $5 coffee, $7 bubble tea, $12 smoothies… Over $20 worth of beverages that most of us would buy in one to two days! And all of these drinks are ones that can be prepared at home for over ¼ of the price.

So, grab yourself a water bottle, reusable coffee mug and smoothie cup and start prepping your beverages at home. Not only will it save you money, but it gives you total drink customisation ability.

This tip is a short one but is one that will save you so much $$, as well as unneeded waste from disposable cups – keeping your wallet and the planet happy :).

7- get honest about your saving goals

There is secrecy around money that I am so lucky to have not been exposed to growing up. I come from a family that have always been open about money and savings approaches. My parents opened a bank account for me when I was extremely young, and I was taught the importance of saving and budgeting from a young age with my bank withdrawals being limited to school holidays ONLY.

But, as I have grown up and spoken to others, I realise how secretive and how uncomfortable people feel talking about money.

Now I am not saying you should be telling people how much you earn or how much is currently in your savings account. All I am saying is that speaking openly to friends and family you feel comfortable with about money triumphs and downfalls is so essential for increased financial confidence. I have learned so much about saving and spending from my family and friends that I couldn’t imagine not having an open money conversation avenue with them.

So, maybe it’s time to open up about money and tell people your goals, which in turn will make you accountable to stick to them, but could also lead to you inspiring your friends and family to take control of their finances, too.

8- open up additional accounts to breakdown saving

Ever since opening up extra accounts where I can deposit money for specific financial commitments my saving ability and confidence has grown so much.

I am currently with a few different banks and within these banks I have a mix of accounts that I use for saving, spending both long term and short.

I also utilise UP and have a variety of Saver accounts with them labelled ‘Travel’, ‘Bills’, ‘Health’ and more. I transfer into these accounts after every paycheck to ensure I always have money for each aspect of my life. I also have an account where I transfer leftover spending money every month which acts as my rainy day account for extra boosts to spending requirements.

9- check the cost of your New Year’s resolutions

Like many, healthy eating and exercise are part of your 2020 New Year’s resolutions which is FANTASTIC. But, that doesn’t mean you need to spend big to get fit. Gyms and meal delivery services add up very quickly, and unfortunately, we live in a time where lock-in contracts can hinder us more than help us. 

So, before locking yourself into a new gym or meal service, ensure you shop around and understand what you are signing yourself up for. Read reviews to see other’s experiences so you know that you can commit to what you are paying for in the long term. Because, NO ONE wants to be paying for something they don’t use or don’t like. 

Also, I know this doesn’t work for everyone, but seeking out free or discounted group fitness sessions in your local area is a great way to save big on your resolutions. Also, utilising youtube exercise videos and local parks to do your workout sessions in is something that I often do for some free but effective fitness approaches.  

10 – don’t be afraid to say no/don’t fall into the FOMO trap

This is a bit of a weird one because I don’t want you to feel restricted and look at financial control as inhibiting, but I want you to feel in control of your money and not bowing down to FOMO will help with this. 

Learning to say no or taking rain-checks is not a bad thing, and for some reason, society has made us feel like it is. If going out every weekend with work friends or only ever eating out as your social occasions is stressing you out, then this may be an indicator that for yourself and your wallet you need to start selecting your spending events more wisely. At first the FOMO can be rough, especially with social media showing all your friends hanging out. But once you start to feel more controlled and confident with your finances, the financial strain that these events can cause will reduce, and you can ease yourself back into attending these outing more regularly; understanding your spending abilities and limits. 

11- invest to save

This tip at first might sound like it is going against everything I’ve just explained, but just keep reading, and it will all make sense. Sometimes you need to put out more to reap the long term benefits. 

For example, recently, my Nutribullet stopped working, and I needed a new blender. Now, I had one of the higher end Nutribullet’s which was gifted to me a few years ago, but now I had to go and fork out for my own. So, the first thing I did was look at the cheapest and ‘best’ blenders on the market and started reading reviews, and nothing was selling me. But then I came across the KitchenAid blender which had fantastic reviews, was the perfect size for my kitchen and came in the colour I liked; but it came with quite a price tag. And even after I went into stores, this blender was still coming out on top which led me to trust the reviews and splurge (within reason) on something I knew I will use every day for a very long time. 

I also had a similar situation with my brand new couch. When I first moved in, I got a cheap fabric couch from the discount furniture store, but within 18 months I had fallen out of love with the couch because I really only got it because it was a good deal. So when it was time for a new couch, I decided to spend that little bit more to get my dream couch that I have always loved (a three-seater brown leather couch); knowing it is a timeless investment piece for my home. 

Please note, this tip is not applicable for everyday spending, and it shouldn’t be! And also  unfortunately can’t tell you what purchases are worth the investment and what ones are not because everyone is different. However, if you can see that spending more increases the longevity of the product and you know you will love it more, then it may be worth spending more to get what you really want for the long term. Which reduces the potential of you having to buy a new item sooner. 

12- prepare for bills extra early

Living out of home has taught me so many things in a short amount of time, and one of the biggest things was the importance of paying bills on time and in a financially prepared manner.

So, after many ‘OMG that is due today’ moments, I have streamlined by bill payment approaches to ensure I am always prepared. 

  • I firstly always pay my bills the day before they are due. This allows the money to sit in my account for as long as possible earning interest before I spend it. 
  • I also take a percentage out of each paycheck to deposit  into my bills accounts, so I really never see the money until I need to pay for something. This also prevents any risk of not having money for bills (which is very reassuring). 
  • I also always ensure I input bills into my monthly budget first thing so I can amend my monthly spending goal to match the increased expenditure for that month. 
  • Finally, I get all my bills emailed to me, which is very handy but also makes it very easy to forget about them in my mailbox. To combat this issue, whenever I get a bill I print it and stick it on my fridge and mark the due date in my physical diary and my phone calendar with an alert attached. This ensures I never forget about my bills and know precisely when larger sums of money will be coming out of my accounts. 

13- don’t buy anything without asking yourself these questions

So you are in a store or shopping online, and you have an item (or multiple) in your cart, and you proceed to the checkout. BUT WAIT! Before you hand over your money, ask yourself the following questions (and be honest with yourself) to find out whether this purchase is an impulse or not.  

  1. Why do I want to purchase this? 
  2. Where will I store it? 
  3. Will I still be utilising it in 6 months? 

If you do not answer yes to all of these questions, then from my experience I would say that the item you want to buy may be a more frivolous purchase that you can pass on or save for a later date.

14- pre-cut and prep your food

Want to know the first thing I do when I get home from grocery shopping? I cut up all my fruit and vegetables and store them in airtight containers. 

Why do I do this? 

Well, have you ever looked in your fridge and seen ‘nothing to eat’ because the watermelon isn’t cut up yet or the carrots are too much of a pain to peel and cut up? Because I have and this mentality often resulted in me eating a packaged and processed snack because it was more convenient, or it led me to go out to get food which was a waste of money and of the food I had at home. 

So, now I ensure I schedule food prep into my grocery shopping time. Generally to get everything prepped it only takes 30 minutes, and after I am done all my food it convenient to grab on the go and cook with straight away.

Also, this tip makes your fridge and pantry look SUPER organised and aesthetically pleasing #shelfie

15- make budgeting fun

Colour coding, podcasts, Youtube videos and stickers; these are all ways I made my relationship with money and budgeting one that I enjoy. 

I draw inspiration and budgeting guidance from a multitude of Youtube channels and podcasts. They offer a format of education where the content is presented in an aesthetically pleasing form that is both engaging and interesting. I started my budgeting journey by watching and listening to budgeting content online. And even now I still commonly refer to them for advice and inspiration on how to maximise my budgeting. 

Some of my favourite channels: 

Natalie Barbu

Michelle Choi 

Aja Dang 

bestdressed

Some of my favourite podcasts:

She’s On The Money 

Natalie Barbu

Now, for my budgeting, I use an excel document and pretty much everything for me is electronic. However, I still have fun stickers and highlighters that I place in my diary that mark my paydays, when my bills a due, days I need to transfer money between accounts and also my money breakdown for what is going in which account. Although I budget electronically, I still find it beneficial to have the written cues in my everyday diary so I can take them on the go to ensure everything is running smoothly in my finances. 

16- mix up your social plans

When it comes to saving, going out for dinner and drinks multiple times a week just isn’t going to cut it, but you can’t look at this as a restrictive approach. Alternatively, think of it as a challenge- how many new ways can you hang out with friends and family and find new things to do where you live that a super cheap or free?

Having late chat nights, cooking dinner at home, going for coffee instead of for full meals, utilising discount websites and apps, going to markets or walks are all ways to reduce but not restrict your expenditure in your social life. 

Also, another tip that I use is to go to BYO restaurants if you are going out for dinner. As long as the corkage is reasonable, you will save heaps by bringing along a reasonably priced bottle of wine (or two) and sharing it with everyone. With corkage being a one off payment and a bottle of wine being between 4-5 glasses with an average bottle price of $20 – $30; you could be spending between $4-$ 6 a glass. Compared to the $10-20 per glass drinks that the restaurants sell, it is easy to see why this tip will saves you lots of $$ without impeding on your night out!

17- stop buying your lunch at work

When I first got a job when I was 15, one of the quickest money vacuums that I got sucked up in was buying my lunch. Discovering all the yummy food court food that was ‘cheap’ and eating that multiple times a week for a few years was not only bad for my health but also my wallet. 

Now, the food I was buying wasn’t unhealthy, and it generally consisted of salads from a close-by vegan or salad bar. However, take out food still has a lot of unnecessary additives in it that you wouldn’t add in at home. And also, even though that massive chicken salad is ‘only $8’, that $8 was coming out of my account three times a week which in a month was costing me almost $100.

So to stop this, I started meal prepping very easy and portable meals that I could freeze or leave in the fridge for up to a week. That involved making extra dinner so I could take it for lunch the next day, always having canned tuna and corn thins on hand, purchasing multiple travel containers to store and carry the food in and overall being more aware and mindful of always having meals in the fridge that I could chuck in my bag on my way to work. 

18- come armed with snacks

When it comes to being organised with your food, to prevent unnecessary granola bar or brownie purchases while out and about, never leave home without some form of snack. 

The snacks I always take with me include fruit, seed crackers or some form of home-baked cookie or granola bar. 

I try to always stick to homemade snacks because it works out cheaper and in my opinion yummier too! However, if you do not want to bake or don’t have time, having a stockpile of some kind of snack you can chuck in your bag is fantastic! THESE are my favourite ones that I keep in my pantry as snack backups. 

19- I’m bringing cash back, yeah!

In the rise of debit cards and electronic payment options, cash is a form of payment that seems to be very quickly fading into the background and becoming ‘the old way to pay’. But I disagree, and I am an advocate for cash to have a resurgence. 

Cash is a tangible item that you physically see reducing in your wallet as you spend it, and it is something you have to give away to someone else with each purchase. And with a card, you just do not get that experience! You can just tap, tap, tap all day long and can easily never go back and see where your money is going (I used to do this ALL the time). However, since I started getting my spending money out in cash each fortnight, I am so much more aware of how I am spending by funds. 

And if I have a particularly big spending day, I can see the reduction in my wallet, and it forces me to acknowledge my spending for that day and become more conscious of my expenditures for the  rest of that week. 

Alternatively, if cash isn’t possible for you to carry with you or to access, always hold on to your receipts. This method works in the opposite way that cash does as you are collecting paper instead of handing it out when buying things. But it still gives you a visual way to review your spending daily or weekly to keep you accountable for your expenses. You can also scroll through your bank transactions history to review your payments as well, but I think a tangible approach is more beneficial for saving goals.

*When paying in cash, I always make sure to keep my receipts so I can put the spending into my budget as well!

20- focus on the end goal to make these changes more bearable

I know that this post was super long and there is a lot to take in, but all of these tips are made so much easier to integrate when you have a clear end goal as to why you want to get your spending organised. So what is saving goals? To buy a home? Go on a holiday? Get a new car? Or just to ensure that when you finish school, Uni or your job that you have enough money to sustain you as you grow? 

Whatever it is, write it down and continually remind yourself daily when you make financial decisions. Envisioning yourself at the end, having reached your goals is so rewarding and will make you so happy that you didn’t buy that one cup of coffee or top because everything adds up!

That concludes the 20 ways you can save big in 2020! I hope you found some of these tips and tricks that I use daily helpful. And if you have any other suggestions, let me know! These tips come from personal experience, and I am in no way a financial advisor. This is not professional advice. Please seek professional financial advice if you need.

Also note that all links in this post are linked as recommendations and all opinions are my own.

The Health Food Powders You Need In Your Pantry.

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I am a health food addict, I can easily spend over an hour in any health food shop just reading all the ingredients and powders to find out what is good for me and the benefits food can give my body. For me, healthy eating is so important, because it makes me feel good and confident; also it tastes really good.
So today I have compiled a list of some of my favourite health food powders that I feel make a difference to my everyday life. I have done some research into these to offer you key information on what these powders are all about. However, PLEASE do your own research if you want to introduce them to your diet, as I am not a healthcare professional.*

Raw Cacao Powder

I love Cacao and have used the powder for many years in baking, smoothies and as a base to warm drinks. Apart from its raw chocolaty taste, it has been proven to be a mood improver due to containing anandamide which brings on feelings of euphoria. It also has a very high ORAC score which shows it has high antioxidant levels. Antioxidants are integral to our health as they increase our immunity to colds and flu, improve digestion, energy and sleep as well as improve circulation (which promotes the reduction of inflammation and cellulite).
Cacao also contains calcium, iron, zinc and potassium; cacao also contains Magnesium which helps with the absorption of calcium. It also assists with an increased metabolism which helps with weight loss and increased digestion leading to overall elevated energy levels.

Calcium

As touched on above, calcium is essential for our body’s health. At the core, it helps build strong bones! To have strong bones is so important, especially as we age as it reduces the risks of both arthritis and osteoporosis. Having strong bones also helps reduce back pain and allows us to live a life of free movement and activity (we all want to be strong and stable!). Calcium is something I am passionate about because I am deficient, so I am focused on rebuilding my calcium levels so I can be strong and healthy. There has also been a lot of research that has shown calcium plays a role in controlling or preventing high blood pressure.
So if you are allergic to dairy, vegan or are concerned about your calcium levels, calcium powder is such an important additive to your diet. The one I use is Green Nutritionals Pure Plant Source Green Calcium, and it is tasteless, so I put it in anything and everything I can think of including, smoothies, oats, hot chocolates, soups etc.

Pea Protein

I use Pea Protein because I’m allergic to dairy so Whey Protein isn’t an option. I use Tropekas’ Lean Protein in Vanilla. This protein and other high-quality Pea Proteins help build lean muscle and assist with toning and muscle recovery. So it is ideal to have post workout to help feed your body the nutrients it needs to build and repair muscle, so you get the most out of your workout. Protein is also renowned for keeping you fuller for longer meaning satisfied cravings and hunger. Additionally, multiple sources of research have discovered that Pea Protein offers a similar protein source that eggs supply; making it a great, healthy and easily digestible protein alternative.

Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass is probably my least favourite out of all of the health powders in my life due to the taste. But the benefits it offers forces me to look past this, and once I mix it into a smoothie, the taste almost disappears. To begin, Wheatgrass is high in Chlorophyll which helps cleanse, alkalise and improve energy levels. Chlorophyll also acts as an antibacterial in the body making it a natural healer. Wheatgrass also contains an extremely wide variety of vitamins and is rich in proteins containing amino acids. Additionally, the Chlorophyll property in Wheatgrass helps with neutralising body odours and controlling blood sugar levels. And with its detoxifying properties, Wheatgrass can help with increased energy levels, weight loss, improved digestion and improved circulation.

Baobab Powder

Baobab Powder is my newest discovery out of all the powders in this article, but I am thrilled I have discovered it as it has so many health properties. To begin, it is high in Vitamin C, which promotes healthy skin, increased immune function and energy levels. It also assists with the absorption of iron and contains Prebiotics that assist with healthy digestion and promotes gut health. I use Green Nutritionals Organic African Baobab.

I use all of the above in my daily smoothies and sprinkle them on top of granola or coconut yoghurt. Despite my research and experience with these powders, it is essential to use and consume what feels right for you and your body. It is so important to do your own research because I am not a healthcare professional and you must ensure you are eating what’s right for you.*

Talk Soon,
Jess xx

* all research and information in this post has been done by myself and I have incorporated these foods into my diet accordingly. Please ensure you read your own articles before introducing these into your daily routine. 

My Day Through A Camera Lens: 23/2/18

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Today I thought I would share something different with you all and potentially make it a post series. I have designed ‘My Day Through A Camera Lens’ to show you what I get up to in my day to day life, and give you an alternate visual when visiting MissJessAmy. So I hope you enjoy.

8:07am

I didn’t have work or Uni today, so I allowed myself a sleep in. I always leave one of my blinds up at night so I wake up to the morning light.

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8:15am

First things first in the morning is a workout. I lay my gear out the night before to ensure there are NO excuses in the morning.

shorts: NIKE, top: Cotton On Body, bra: Kmart, shoes: NIKE

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8:23am

Here is my workout set up, morning news on the big screen, workout videos on my laptop, and workout plan laid out.

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9:07am

I was truly smiling post workout today because it was a hard one and I was happy it was over (40min HIIT).

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9:13am

Breakfast time = smoothie bowl. Banana, Mango, Spinach, Coconut Yoghurt, Coconut Water, Almond Milk, Ice, Cacao, Tropeka Protein Powder, Cinnamon, Peanut Butter, Calcium Powder.

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11:51am

Visited the ‘Mind, Body and Spirit Festival’ and treated myself to Cocofrio’s Coconut and Choc Ice Cream (dairy free, gluten free and refined sugar-free). So yummy!

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2:06pm

Having some relaxation time after being out all morning. I am obsessed with editing the look of the blog at the moment to make it as user-friendly as possible. I was also multi-tasking by watching an Acting seminar on my laptop.

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2:10pm

Emails, Blog, Seminar are done and up to date = happy Jess

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2:18pm

On my way to meet my friend Mahlee to get my nails done and got a Green Tea to go. I have been trying to be more environmentally friendly this year, so I have been using my ‘Keep Cup’ and I’m obsessed.

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4:00pm

Nails are done, now time for a snack with Mahls.

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4:09pm

Time to go home as thunderstorms approach.

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4:44pm

En route home I stopped by my parents’ house.

Outfit detail: jeans: H&M, shoes: Steve Madden, bag: Target, jumper: Vintage, top: Decjuba

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4:49pm

PUPPY TIME! Meet our family dog, Beau. He is a 4-month-old French Bulldog.

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8:08pm

Winding down after a big day and after eating dinner by watching a movie, listening to the rain and writing this post. Goodnight.

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Talk soon,

Jess xx

My Tanning Routine

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As Summer begins to draw to a close here in Oz, I would like to think I have been able to finesse my tanning routine. So I thought I would share my carefully crafted routine with you all today to make it easier for any first time tanners out there, or to offer some tips for any tanning pros.

One: Dry Brushing

Something that I have recently gotten into is dry brushing. I have read about the benefits of this routine for a while and finally decided to give it a go. I don’t do it daily (because I just forget), but I do always do it before doing a tan. I find it assists in heightening the effects of scrubbing and shaving; leaving me with smooth legs that are easy to tan. I start at my feet and move in upwards circular motions all over my body.

Two: Exfoliation

An absolute must before tanning is to exfoliate. You want to ensure all of the dead skin is removed from your body, so your tan applies evenly and smoothly. I use Thankyou’s Coffee Body Scrub, and much like the dry brush, I will work in circular motions with the scrub, all over my body. I then allow the scrub to sit on my skin for at least 5 minutes, so all of the moisturising oils soak in. I also ensure to focus on rougher areas when scrubbing to ensure my tan applies evenly; so I scrub a bit harder on my knees, elbows and heels.

Three: Shaving

After my skin is smooth and prepped, it is time to remove the hair. When shaving I use Natural Instinct’s Relaxing Body Wash as my shaving cream as I find the natural oils and ingredients further help to soften my skin and assist in the reduction of post-shave bumps. I just shave my legs, underarms and bikini line. I find the hairs on my arms don’t interfere that much when I tan, as long as I have done an efficient exfoliating job.

Four: Moisturise

Now it’s time to moisturise, a key part of the tanning process. Before tanning, I use two different moisturising products that help me get a silky smooth and prepped body. I will first use Alpha Keri’s Anti-Cellulite Body Butter and then I will go over the top with Collagenesis by Skinn Essential Radiance Body Oil. I find these two products work well together as the cream is thick and focuses on firming up the skin, and then the oil offers major moisture and makes your skin silky smooth and shiny.

I will generally either do all the above the night before or morning of tanning. This allows enough time for all the moisturisers to soak in and for my pores to close before applying tan in the evening.

Five: Tan

Now it’s time for what we’ve all been waiting for, tanning time. Over the past few years, my go-to tan has been Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam in Dark, and I would normally apply three pumps to each body part (so three pumps for the left leg, three pumps for right leg etc.), sleep in it and wash it off in the morning. But at the moment I am trialling Bondi Sands 1 Hour Express Tan. Personally, one of my least favourite things to do when tanning was having to sleep in it. I found it uncomfortable and messy and I always had to worry about which sheets I had on my bed because I didn’t want to mark the expensive ones. But with this express tan, I can just put it on for 1-2 hours (depending on the colour pay off I want) and I can get on with my day. This is especially great if you have an event at night and want a touch of colour before you go.
I apply my tan on a tanning mitt (mine is from Mecca Maxima), in long motions up my legs and arms. I then go in circular motions on my stomach and chest to around to my back. I don’t tan my face, as I find I just break out or go red, so when I am tanned I normally just up my bronzer ratio. I also tan my hands and feet, but will only do that right at the end by using the leftover residue on the mitt; just to make sure they don’t go too dark.

Six: Maintain

After all the effort you go to, to apply your tan, you want to maintain it. So, I recommend using a Gradual Tanner to assist in the maintenance and further development of the colour. I use Dove’s Summer Glow Gradual Self Tan in Medium to Dark Skin, and love it. It gives the most amazing tan colour, is easy to apply and smells amazing.

So there you go, insider tanning tips and tricks. I hope you enjoyed learning about my tried and true tanning routine and use some of my tips in the future. Talk soon.

Jess xx

@jessicatathem 

How To Stay Fit and Healthy During Uni.

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It’s that time of year when we all head back to Uni (in Australia) and get a step closer to getting a degree. But for a lot of people, heading back to the books means heading back to eating takeout and halting working out because our lives become ‘too busy’. Well, fear not because I have put together five of my personal tried and true tips and tricks to help you stay on track and ace your finals and fitness goals this year.

#1- Start Your Day With Exercise

Now trying to juggle work, university and a social life is hard enough, which is why having to add in regular exercise is too hard for some, me included. Going to bed late and having to wake up early while being constantly tired is something all students deal with, and eliminating factors that make our days longer is ideal. But, exercise is an extremely important part of keeping yourself healthy and also assists in stress control.
My biggest tip for keeping up with your exercise routine in University is to do it first thing in the morning, even if you can only squeeze in 15 minutes before you have to run out the door; you’ll feel the difference in your day.
I used to be an afternoon exerciser, but after my workouts, I never felt overly accomplished and found I struggled to push myself to my limits. So I wanted to mix it up and began working out in the morning after breakfast. Well, this didn’t work either, I was full of food and was trying to jump around (rookie mistake). Instead, I set my alarm that little bit earlier and worked out before I did anything else in the morning, between 30-50 minutes depending on how I felt and how busy I was in the day.
This time change in my workout has honestly changed my life completely (sounds dramatic, but keep reading). I have found my digestion is better throughout the day, I feel more awake, I have more energy, and I feel so accomplished in the morning. It is also a great feeling to finish Uni or Work at 5 pm and know I can just come home a relax.
Now, I understand working out in the morning doesn’t suit everyone, even fitness extraordinaire Kayla Itsines has shared her dislike for working out in the morning. You have to do what suits you but I would highly recommend giving this a go! I only have to wake up 30 minutes earlier in the mornings, and that’s a small price to pay to feel good all day.

Favourite Workout Channels:

Popsugar Fitness

Blogilates 

Boho Beautiful 

Love Sweat Fitness

Yoga With Adriene 

Gabriella Whited

I combine multiple videos from the above channels to tailor workouts to what I want to focus on each day.

#2- Fuel Your Body Right

Being on the go all the time, it is easy to slip into the constant ‘eating out’ routine. Coming home on the bus and opening Uber Eats to see what’s nearby or skipping breakfast and grabbing a chocolate bar for a quick pick me up en route to a lecture is not a good way to go about your health.
The easiest way to avoid these diet downfalls is to meal prep or snack prep. When I go to Uni, I am a snacker much more than a meal eater. For me, breakfast is the biggest meal I have for the day, and it’s usually either a smoothie bowl or GF oats with Banana and Protein and everything else throughout my day I keep light and sustainable.
I am not much of a meal prepper, but I do prep snacks. I always have cut up capsicum, carrot, cucumber and cooked sweet potato in my fridge with homemade hummus. And I also always homemake GF, DF, RSF protein balls and bars as well as Fruit and Nut mix, so I can keep myself fuelled in-between classes.
However, if I don’t have time to make the sweet treats, I have a few go-to brands I chuck in my bag including:

Tom and Luke Protein Bars

Golden Day Paleo Bars

Blue Dinosaur Paleo Bars
I also always carry a large water bottle with me around campus with apple cider vinegar, this helps me stay hydrated and helps combat any sweet cravings I might get when I am bored in class (haha).

#3 Find Local Gems

Now, this slightly goes against what I said above about avoiding to eat out, but sometimes it is unavoidable. So my biggest tip for this would be to do your research and find places close to your Uni that provides healthy and yummy snacks and meals. Also, if all your friends want to go to a burger place, just read the menu well and try to opt for the healthiest option. For example, all my friends love Grill’d, so whenever we go I order:
*Veggie Vitality or Zen Hen
*on the Low Carb Super Bun
*and with Sweet Potato Fries (I only order fries if I share or I am particularly hungry)

Now, this is still a treat meal, but it is the healthier option and allows me to stick to my healthy lifestyle, while still being involved in the fun with friends.
Being in my second year now, I have also scoped out places around campus that sell my favourite Coconut Water, Kombucha and Paleo Bars.

#4 Write Down Your Goals

What do you want to achieve with this lifestyle? A more positive life outlook? Increased motivation? Stress relief? Weight loss? Toning up? Whatever it is, write it down! This not only holds you accountable for every positive decision you make towards a better you, but it also helps you visualise your end goal which increases your day to day motivation.
For me, every night before I go to bed I write down my workout plan for the next morning. This both keeps me accountable for my workout, but also allows me to go to bed and wake up motivated, as once it’s on paper, it has to be done. Since commencing this routine in mid-January, I have only missed ONE day, and that was because I woke up with a stiff neck and my doctor recommended I give it a break.

#5 Vitamin It Up

One thing that I think has truly allowed me to properly focus on my health is taking vitamins that help my body seize the day. I am currently taking a Calcium, Mega B, Vitamin C and Horseradish and Evening Primrose to support my health. I have never really been into these approaches, but with feeling the way I do right now, I have no idea why I wasn’t. Now, of course, I am not a healthcare professional, so you should always consult them before adding these supplements to your diet, but I would highly recommend going to them and figuring out what you need. I am calcium deficient, so a Calcium supplement is a must for more. Additionally, I suffer from anxiety and elevated stress levels, so my Mega B supports that and the Evening Primrose helps with my skin and in reducing my serious symptoms of PMS. Finally, the Vitamin C and horseradish is a general wellbeing one that helps with my immune system. When taking vitamins, it’s important to understand what you are taking and why you are taking it.

Despite everything above, you have to do what works for you. It is so important to take care of your health and wellbeing throughout your whole life, but when you have to juggle 100 different things throughout the day, your body needs some help. I hope you at least try one of these tips above and good luck with your studies.

Jess xx

@jessicatathem

Things I Learned in 2017

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A list of things I learned in 2017; a year that was unexpectedly splendid and life-changing.

  1. things get better
  2. some people and relationships need time
  3. feeling confident within yourself changes your outlook on life
  4. parents are people too
  5. sometimes, people just need someone to talk to
  6. life has a funny way of bringing happiness when you least expect it
  7. friends come from the most unlikely, but obvious places
  8. you are loved
  9. living on your own is scary but freeing
  10. stress is a roadblock
  11. spontaneity is thrilling
  12. a normal day can change your life
  13. the world has a funny way of working itself out in your favour
  14. giving back is important
  15. alone time is important
  16. pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is important
  17. inner health is important
  18. there are more important things than followers on social media
  19. being skinny and healthy can be two very different things
  20. people can change, some will and some won’t
  21. forgiveness is important for your soul
  22. moving on doesn’t mean you have to forget
  23. heartbreak ends
  24. sometimes you need a good cry
  25. trusting within yourself will open doors
  26. it’s good to treat yourself and others
  27. staring at the night sky is sometimes all the therapy you need
  28. everyone says “don’t sweat the small stuff,” and it’s hard, but don’t sweat it, there is no point
  29. you can’t change others, they will make their own mistakes
  30. it’s okay to make mistakes
  31. always consider others opinions and experiences
  32. people are good
  33. the world is kind
  34. the media focuses too much on the negative
  35. there is joy in turning up a song and dancing like crazy
  36. all good things take their time
  37. have trust that the universe has your best life in mind
  38. sometimes one good day can change your mindset forever
  39. being tall is good, even if cute dresses don’t always fit
  40. the feeling that live music offers is like no other
  41. getting emotional is nothing to be ashamed of
  42. getting passionate is nothing to be ashamed of
  43. others opinions literally do not matter
  44. people can be mean, but it shouldn’t change you
  45. finding true happiness is one of the most liberating things you can experience

My 18th and Changing​ Up The Blog

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Hello Everybody,

This is a very exciting post to make, as it is something that has been being planned for a while now. I love this blog, but over the past 18 months, I have really struggled to maintain regular quality posts on here due to my crazy schedule. So this blog is now becoming a ‘mixed media’ blog. I want to start incorporating video content for you guys to watch, allowing me to post more variety and more regularly. I’ll explain this change in more detail in the video below.

So for my first video, I thought I’d do a chatty ‘Get Ready With Me’ for my 18th Birthday.  Hope you enjoy. xx

P.S. this video has bad sound, it’s sometimes out of focus and I keep getting out of shot haha. I’ll get better, promise!

Reforming My View On Fitness.

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In school, I wanted to be skinny; I wanted that Instagram bikini body and I thought the only way to get that was cardio and minimal eating, this is indeed not the case! Focusing on building muscle and strength was not part of my workout routines ever, as I always thought I would bulk out and lose a lean figure.

So in my senior years of school when I began to get more of a routine, I was just doing cardio, and I ate clean. Did I lose weight? Yeah, I did. What I thrilled with how my body looked? No. Why? Because I wasn’t toned and I wasn’t strong at all. I struggled with bad posture, weak knees and a shoulder injury which was in the limbo zone of improvement.

The moment I realised how important strength was for physical health was when I was sitting in a shoulder surgeons office hearing that I would have to get shoulder surgery to fix my right shoulder.

*quick flash back*

In 2015 I was in rehearsals for a show. It was a children’s show, so it was high energy and very physical. When we were doing a warm up, I was distracted, and someone came up and hit my arm upwards (it was part of the game). With the hit, my arm went straight up and around, forcing my shoulder to pull a full 360. And what I found out later was that my shoulder dislocated, pulling my ligaments and then returning to its position. This effects of this incident were worsened by me being double jointed and already having weak joints.

So fast forward to mid-2016, and here I was, being given three months with a Physio to improve my condition or it was under the knife for me. I was determined not to have surgery. It would mean I wouldn’t be able to use my dominant arm for over six months recovery; therefore meaning I’d not be able to work, drive, write or work out. Also, I had an overseas trip planned, in which this surgery would have inhibited me from doing heaps of fun activities while away.

So I began physio, and it was hard and painful, but I slowly got better. And I started to realise that my strength was building and this strength was healing and protecting my weak shoulder. A few months later, I was cleared by the physio for surgery and to this day, by maintaining my strength, my shoulder has gone from 40% to 85% (it’s still not 100% perfect).

But how have I maintained this strength? With Pilates and it has changed my view on fitness and taking care of my body. My mum had been going a local studio for about six months and was enjoying it. So after I graduated high school and had more time on my hands and more money from being able to work more, I thought I’d give it ago. And honestly, after the first session, I was hooked. Within the first few weeks of doing pilates regularly, I noticed I was getting stronger, and I felt great. My shoulder pain was further reduced, and the weight I could handle was increasing.

What I love most about it is that in the 45 minutes you’re in a class for, you get a whole body workout; your legs, abs, arms, back, booty is all taken care of. You honestly will not believe the burn you get and the post workout muscle pain you feel until you try Pilates for yourself. It targets muscles I never knew I had and I leave sweaty after every session; despite their being super cold air conditioning. I have toned up so much since starting pilates, and despite the increase in muscle, I have maintained a lean physique.

Last year, I didn’t enjoy workouts, I did them because I felt obligated to lose weight. But now my mindset has been transformed, and I have fallen in love with being fit, strong and healthy. And I love working out; I look forward to my class. Every session I’m doing a different workout, and I can feel my body getting stronger with every move. I highly recommend trying Pilates for yourself and seeing AND feeling the differences.

Healthy Breakfast Pancake Muffins 

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Meet the new perfect edition to your morning routine. Everything amazing about a blueberry and banana pancake; cooked into deliciously moist and filling muffins (easy to take on the go)! Have one for breakfast, or pack as a ‘pick me up’ snack during your busy day. These muffins are so tasty, and by being GF, DF and RSF they are sure to please everyone. img_5181.jpg

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 large Banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ cup Chia Seeds
  • ½ cup Almond Meal
  • 1 tbl Vanilla Protein Powder
  • ¼ cup Almond Milk
  • ¾ cup frozen blueberries
  • ½ teaspoon Bicarb Soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • *optional* Granola (top sprinkle on top)

Makes approx.  12 muffins FullSizeRender

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  2. Mash banana until smooth in bowl
  3. Add in remaining wet ingredients and mix until all combined
  4. Add in almond meal- mix while adding to avoid clumping
  5. Add in chia seeds, protein powder, bicarb and baking powder, combine all ingredients.
  6. Sprinkle in blueberries, avoid mixing too much to avoid colour mixing of the blueberries and mixture.
  7. Evenly distribute into muffin pan
  8. Sprinkle granola on top before cooking
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes, watch to avoid top burning.
  10. Allow to completely cool and store in the fridge, in an airtight container.

Easter Fudge Brownies – DF & GF

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This recipe makes quite a large brownie, comfortably filling a 23x33cm baking pan. But feel free to half all the ingredients for a smaller batch.

*note: Dairy Milk eggs are not DF! They are just for decoration and a treat for the rest of my family*IMG_4282.jpg

Ingredients:

2 cups gluten-free self-raising flour
4 eggs
300g Nuttalex (if you don’t require DF, you can use butter)
1 cup cacao powder
¾ Lindt dessert 70% chocolate melted
¼ (remaining) Lindt dessert 70% chocolate roughly chopped
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup honey

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
2. Prepare double boiler for melting chocolate. Break up Lindt dessert chocolate and melt until runny consistently is formed, continually mix and watch
3. Combine all dry ingredients, sifting flour and cacao if needed. Don’t add chopped chocolate yet
4. Melt Nuttelex and add into dry ingredients, mix thoroughly
5. Add remaining wet ingredients, mix melted chocolate through BEFORE adding eggs
6. Mix in chopped chocolate, leaving enough to sprinkle on top of brownie
7. Mix ingredients thoroughly together
8. Line baking tray with baking paper and pour in mixture
9. Sprinkle remaining chocolate over the top of brownie
10. Bake for 20-25 minutes depending on the amount of ‘fudgyness’ you like. Allow to completely cool before cutting. Serve with whipped coconut cream.

Enjoy and I hope you have an amazing Easter.

Love, Jess xx