Thursday, 31 March 2016

Our visit to Sovereign Hill, Ballarat

School Holidays is happening once again and by now you are probably thinking what on earth can I do with the kids, there is only so many times you can visit the supermarket with them throwing everything into the trolleys, there is only so many times you can visit the local park before they become bored within minutes of being there.

Recently I was up studying in Ballarat for work and was reminiscing back to when I went to Ballarat with my school for a camp and visited Sovereign Hill.  Little Niah is only 2.5 years old but I wanted to take her there, and go back myself (great Mum excuse there) so we organised a day out and headed to Ballarat.

Sovereign Hill is open daily from 10am to 5pm and will cost you $54 for adults, $24.50 for children (under 5 free) and is $136 for a family pass (2 adults, 2 kids) in entry fees.

Sovereign Hill in a nut shell is like setting foot into the olden days. The clothing was things such as petticoats, blouses and long johns alike. The houses were little wooden shacks with only the ample inside. It’s like a scene from a movie that you get to be a part in.

Everything around you still occurs and Sovereign Hill goes on as if it was still the 1850s.
It really is a living museum with costumed characters who take part in the enactment of Sovereign Hill.

The list of things to do at Sovereign Hill goes on and on and there is bound to be something that interests everyone, some of the activities to do include:

  •   Bowl at the bowling alley, where there is no electric gates to pick up the pins at the end, someone will need to be there physically re-stacking them all over again.
  •   Make your own colored candles by dipping the candles made on site into colored pots to create your own masterpiece.
  • Try your luck and pan for gold. At times Sovereign Hill puts on special promotions in which they have major gold pieces to find.
  • Watch hard boiled confectionery being made through the big glass windows and then purchase some of the delicious candy.
  • See blacksmiths at work making all the necessities for use being made in front of your eyes.
  • Tour down under ground into the mines through a Mine Tour.
  • Stay overnight or stay for the night Sound & Light show which gives you an insight into the 1850s life.
  •  Take a ride in the coach around Sovereign Hill by house and cart.
  • See the children at school and try writing in dip pens and ink (I loved this part the most as we went as a camp when I was in school so we became a part of the enactment of 1850's children)
There are many places to eat and shop at within Sovereign Hill.
The Hope Bakery was our favorite where you can get all the baked goods from the traditional wood-fired oven just like the menu back in the 1850's for some good tucker.

Purchasing your souvenirs is something Sovereign Hill does not fall short of, there is an abundance of things you can purchase to take home with you to remember your special journey at Sovereign Hill.

Within your entry ticket to Sovereign Hill you are able to gain access into the Gold Museum situated across the road enabling you to see many gold pieces. 

The great thing with Sovereign Hill is they put on many more special activities for the school holidays which can be found here. Don't forget they also do a Christmas in July with snow!

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Sovereign Hill. I received complimentary entry passes to Sovereign Hill in exchange for its promotion here. I received no payment for this review and all opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.

BRAND FOCUS: Natralus Paw Paw for baby [REVIEW]

At our Bloggers United AU event in Adelaide I was lucky enough to come across the brand Natralus who were there on the day to present to us attendees, Natralus was high on my list even though helping to organise the day and ensure it ran smoothly I wanted to make sure that Natralus was a session that I sat in on.

Natralus is a brand that has been around for a very long time; a natural, Australian owned, family run and originated over in South Australia. I recall trying their paw paw ointment a few years back for relief of my chapped lips and for using it on my cracked nipples whilst breastfeeding with little Niah. 

I was gifted their new Paw Paw for baby range so I could try with my little babe as unfortunately I do think I have passed on my sensitive skin condition onto her, which is something I didn't want at all. 
Having bath bombs, bubble baths and such are something kids love but unfortunate for Niah we have had to pull back on them due to Niah reacting to nearly all the bath products we have currently been using. Niah would come out with rash patches on her body and going onto her face. 
Niah's face would get these red dots that would then turn into dry spots from reacting to products and we would then be in a 'detox' stage of caring for her skin for a few days afterwards to get it back good. 

Having such sensitive skin my whole life I find it hard to test new products so I am very cautious when it comes to using products on Niah as well. I looked at all the ingredients used to make the Natralus Paw Paw range and couldn't find anything that I thought might set either myself or Niah off so we gave them a test out. 

There are six (6) products in the range but five were gifted in my little hamper in which I will detail my thoughts below:

Shampoo & Body Wash

The perfect light and sweetly scented shampoo for your little ones hair. 
Highly fragranced shampoos seem to be a trigger for sensitive skin so I have found on both myself and Niah, Natralus' Paw Paw Shampoo & Body Wash is one that is really gentle. 
The pump bottle makes it super easy to use whilst helping to wash your little one or just as easy for the little ones to be able to use to wash themselves. A big positive to the independent toddlers who always say 'I do' now and want to be doing things themselves with minimal help.

Relaxing Massage Oil.

Oils generally aren't something I like using as I hate the greasy aftermath residue that lingers behind after you try to rub it into your skin. The Relaxing Massage Oil seeps quickly into the skin without leaving much behind, it quickly absorbs into the skin and for us has a slight chocolate scent to it - even though there is nothing to suggest you may smell that, it's definitely got the scent there.  The skin is left feeling very rejuvienated and soft. 

Soothing Repair Balm.

Paw Paw balm's are fantastic multitasking products that can be used on many things. 
It's that one product you always want to have in the handbag, nappy bag and gym bag. 
Paw Paw Balm is great for using on the dry patches of skin that sensitive skin may get, using on bites and itchy spots, cracked nipples, nappy rash etc. 
I did find this balm to be a little hard to get out of the container as the coconut oil hardened up and made it need a great push to come out the squeezing hole. 
A bit of slight grease is left behind after application use but nothing to extreme. 

Nourishing Skin Lotion. 

Something super important that everyone needs to ensure they do for their children is to care for their  skin as well. When us Mum's, even as we grow up into young ladies we have so many skincare products to be able to look after our skin, so it's important we try to look after our kids skin as well. 
Children see the sun and expose their skin to so many things that damage their skin so giving them some cream to join into your night time routine or giving them a massage to help rejuvenate and re-moisturise their skin. 

Bubble Bath.

The best for last. We dove straight into the bubble bath first to use this. 
Bubbles seem to disappear into the water and the bath will be left bubble-less after about 10 mins of it being in the water. The bubble bath is soap and sulphate free which is a win for both of us being that I can actually put my hands in to get the bubbles moving around and test the water without my hands instantly being itchy. 

For us, we are really happy with Natralus Paw Paw range and we will definitely be keeping this one in for regular top ups on the shopping list. 
You will find Natralus in Woolworths, Coles, IGA and many chemists. A list of where to buy from can be found here. 

Disclosure: This post has been made in collaboration with Natralus, I was gifted the range as above mentioned with no expectation for its promotion here. I received no payment for this review and all opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Fitness & Health Expo 2016 + GIVEAWAY

Are you ready for the Fitness & Health Expo to come back around to Melbourne for 2016?
I am. I love heading out for the day to get re-inspired, re-motivated, pick up some great bargains and meet some of the industry fitness icons in person. 

For quite some years now I have attended the Fitness & Health Expo year after year and it's something I always strongly recommended going along too. Last year I was able to attend both in my hometown state Melbourne and then again in Sydney.

Training with Sam Philisaire at the Fitness & Health Expo Sydney 2016.

2016 is going to bring together some fantastic features for you to take advantage of at the expo:
  • Celebrity & Expert Training Arena – featuring free group training sessions, open workouts and Q&As with some of the biggest names in fitness and sport today including Amanda Bisk, Laura Henshaw, Shannan Ponton, Simeon Panda and the HIIT Mum Colette McShane.
  • Healthy Living Stage – watch healthy cooking demos and gain free nutritional tips and advice from leading experts including Lola Berry.
  • Les Mills Stage – the opportunity for visitors to get involved and trial the latest Les Mills Group Fitness Classes.
  • CrossFit competitions – featuring the top CrossFit athletes who will test their physical strength and mental tenacity through a range of cross functional training challenges set by Rob Forte. 
  • Spartan Race Challenge – visitors will have the opportunity to get involved and challenge themselves through a range of obstacles, competing for the fastest time. 
  • Natural Bodybuilding/Sports Modelling competitions - run by the International Natural Bodybuilding Association (INBA), including the largest natural bodybuilding event in Australia where INBA members can earn their Pro Status and compete for a chance to receive return flights and accommodation to the US for the INBA/PNBA Natural Olympia.
  • Powerlifting Championships and the Pacific Invitational – featuring the strongest men and women in the world who will be attempting to tackle all-time records.
  • Strongman competition – featuring some of Australia’s strongest athletes who will go head-to-head with a range of strongman challenges.
Not only that but you will be in the presence of many supplements companies - sample and purchase new or beloved products, train with the celebrity fitness icons who will put you through your paces, get your photo taken and take home an autograph or two of the leading industry icons, listen into chats about health related topics, find out more about studying in the industry and more...

Revie Jane and myself at the Fitness & Health Expo Sydney 2015.

Love a good Gusiness World Record attempt? Last year in Sydney, Michelle Bridges did the largest fit ball class, this year The HIIT Mum will be attempting to do the record for the most number of people simultaneously doing burpees - yes, the beloved burpees. Surprisingly I can say I am not too fussed when it comes to burpees but they are tiring.

HIIT Mum Colette McShane, in association with the Fitness & Health Expo will be allowing Melbournians to come down to Ron Barassi Snr Park, Docklands on Saturday 16th April for a 9:30am start.

To register visit here. There is a $10 registration fee for the World Record Attempt Burpees - proudly supporting beyondblue. Make sure you also LIKE the event page here for updates as the big day approaches.

The Fitness & Health Expo will open its door from Friday, April 29th to Sunday, May 1st at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre. Open to both industry and public. 
Tickets are free if you work within the industry and pre-register or purchased for adults $24 (pre-event) or $30 at the door. 

Oh yes we do, we have got the goods...
We're hooking 5 lucky winners up with a double pass each into the expo!
Valued at $60 per double pass.
I will be giving away x3 double passes through my blog and x2 double passes through my Instagram account (@njtblogger) - so do enter over there for more chances at scoring a double pass.

Simple entry via the gleam form below.
The more tasks you complete the higher chance of winning!

Giveaway ends: Monday 18th April at midnight.
Winners will be drawn: Tuesday 19th April.
Winner will have 24hrs to contact back otherwise redraw will occur. 

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by The Fitness & Health Expo. I will be attending the expo as media in exchange for its promotion here. I received no payment for this review and all opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Fitness & Health Expo Sydney, 2015 [RECAP]

Back in October, 2015 (yes I know I am super delayed on this one) I was lucky enough to be in Sydney at the same time as when the Fitness & Health Expo was in town.
I organised to ensure that I was able to attend so I headed up a few days earlier than expected to be able to spend a day to myself at the expo.

I road-tripped on my own up and stayed at the ibis budget hotel in Sydney Olympic Park which was just down the road from where the Fitness & Health Expo was being held at The Dome, Sydney Showground.
Apparently this isn't where they normally hold the expo but due to renovations in their usual spot they were in The Dome for this year. In comparison to Melbourne, I would say that Sydney's event is smaller than ours - this could be due to the smaller venue it was held out but I was expecting something huge being Sydney.

I went along as media and was able to have the chance again twice for the year to train with Max Philisaire before the doors opened to the public. Max is a fitness celebrity icon and also was the ambassador for the Fitness & Health Expo in 2015.

We then went around to a few select key booths where we learnt about the art of Persian Yoga and Kim Beach who made us her famous Choc Mint protein balls which were like a peppermint magnum without the calories - highly recommend you take a look at making these ones at home.

I took a look around the expo and was able to chat with a few new and beloved brands in which expos are fabulous key things to be able to do with brands.

I also put myself through a training session with Revie Jane from Crossfit Babes who made me want to be sick from the AMRAP session she put us through. I was so honoured to be able to be in a small intimate training session with someone who I have been following for quite some time and have always been inspired by her hard work even through her pregnancy.

Attending the Fitness & Health Expo gives you a really good day out getting re-inspired, re-motivated and prepared for your next fitness journey. Pick up supplements cheap, meet fitness icons, take on classes with the celebs, see fitness comps and way more... Who knows you might bump into the hunk Commando.

Will you be attending in your state for 2016?

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Fitness & Health Expo. I received a media pass to enter the expo and media event in exchange for its promotion here. I received no payment for this review and all opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Hans Oliving Lunch with the Hewitt's

Lunch with the Hewitt's? Yes, you read that correctly. NJT Blogger was invited along to have lunch with the powerhouse couple.
It's not everyday you see an invite come across your inbox asking you to attend a lunch with Bec and Lleyton Hewitt and all for celebrating them as ambassadors for Hans Oliving.

I first came across Hans Oliving when I was at a Kids Business event up in Sydney where I first came across the Oliving range being a healthier alternative of using olive oil in the deli meats and from then I have sworn by using Hans Oliving.
Our homemade breakies with bacon has never been more delicious and less of a guilt free feeling.
Little Niah even enjoys the bacon more then the normal bacon that is available in stores.

Hans Oliving range is moving more into a Mediterranean diet where they use more olive oil and less animal fat and for any lifestyle this is a win.

Walking into this beautiful home in Brighton we were greeted with a large array spread of the Hans Oliving range in different meals for us to enjoy. It really got me thinking oh I can do that myself at home and yup that's a good idea so it left me feeling keen to get into the kitchen to create new things for the family.

During the lunch with Bec & Lleyton Hewitt, Bec made us a beautiful salad with the Hans Oliving Smoked Ham with some fig, buffalo mozzarella and some other bits and bobs, it was done within like 3 minutes easily and was a complete fresh, healthy and super easy meal that really made me re-evaluate those moments that I say to myself I really don't want to stand around for 20 minutes making dinner.

Lucky me got to meet with Bec & Lleyton where I interviewed them with a few questions that I thought I could take on board as much like myself I am a super busy person who is time poor with being a Mum and working full time as well as doing many other things outside of work.

Bec Hewitt commented that being organised is such a key thing, spending time at night to prepare for the morning is something that helps being healthy and also saving time in the morning should something happen.

Meal prepping wasn't something that the Hewitt's tend to do as they prepare fresh and have key variety menu options that they more forecast for the week giving them a rough idea of what they might have.

Easy was something the Hewitt's do for there kids, but when I say easy it wasn't going through drive through or picking up some frozen dinners to heat up. The Hewitt's get creative, get fresh and love to get the kids involved so they can have fun foods to eat.
Cracker towers were a favourite where they would have crackers, cheese, ham etc and stack them up how they like. Anything on skewers the kids would love where they can make patterns with food and it makes eating exciting for the kids.

I asked Lleyton if he had to have a special diet plan whilst playing tennis as it's something I am always keen to know the insides to athlete's diets. Lleyton advised he did but it was more knowing what you can and can't eat, being that he was on auto pilot during playing he more so has to watch what he is eating now due to not be on the court constantly.

Bec commented that they love the pizza salami and the ham so they can make homemade pizzas where Lleyton loves the twiggy sticks.
For me I am a sucker for the bacon and the salami's as well.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Hans Oliving. I was kindly invited along to the media launch lunch event with The Hewitt's 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, 14 March 2016

Salon Melbourne 2016 [RECAP]

Salon Melbourne comes around each year and 2016 made it the third time I have attended.
Each year I have always taken away a handful of goodies and learnt some new tricks. 

Over 5,000 attendees entered through the Salon Melbourne doors for the two day expo which fell over a weekend rather than the normal Sunday-Monday run expo as previous years. 

2016 saw the introduction of The Sanctuary which featured some higher end brands like Elizabeth Arden, Jean D'Arcel Cosmetique, PAYOT, Dermalogica Australia and a few more brands. The set up of The Sanctuary was a sight for sore eyes. It was stunningly set up in a quiet location that allowed for lots of bright lights and a more intimate setting for the brands to connect with the interested Salon Melbourne attendees. 

There was lots more sessions that allowed for some open space scattered throughout the expo floor to allow for open chats about tips and tricks, demonstrations and presentations from well known in the industry. I spotted MUA - Becca Gilmartin doing a demonstration in which I met her at a previous Kroylan event. 

L to R: Jasmine from Sweetaholic Beauty, Yong-Li founder of Enbacci, myself and Jenet from Chicgeek85.

The most beneficial and first time thing for me at Salon Melbourne was going to seminars. Never ever at an expo have I ever attended a seminar before, this year there was two seminars that really caught my eye and I am so glad I took a look at the schedule because I learnt so many things to take home and implement into my blog and Bloggers United AU. 

I sat in on the seminar of 'Turning Your Likes Into Dollars - The New Rules of Social Media' by Heather Porter from Autopilot Your Business. This seminar was a good one for business owners within salons and online stores to bring traffic onto your pages and turn those followers and likes into an income movement. 
Heather was a fantastic mentor who really got me inspired to implement key things into my social media and pushing forward in a different direction. 

The other seminar I sat in on was 'Your Digital Marketing Health Check' by Kylie Lewis from Of Kin. Kylie was a phenomenal presenter who has worked within the industry for many years working through marketing at Kikki K to now teaching on how to ensure you are doing everything you can for your business via digital marketing. 

I didn't purchase much at the expo - I really held back this year and only purchased some more Dose of Colors matte lipsticks to add to my already stunning collection. Dose of Colors was sold by Scotty's Makeup - a shame they couldn't be there themselves like they were in Sydney but still happy to have gotten my hands on some shades that I needed. 

This year Salon Melbourne was a lot smaller than what I am used to seeing. There was a lot of big stalls missing this year and seemed to be a few key well known brands there. 

Salon Melbourne is a great day out with the girls to pick up bargain saving products to add to the beauty collection, find new on the market items and especially beneficial for Salon or industry workers where you can get supplies at a cheaper cost. 

Did you head out to Salon Melbourne 2016? What made you pull out that hard earned cash to purchase?

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Salon Melbourne. I received a media pass to enter the expo and seminars in exchange for its promotion here. I received no payment for this review and all opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Keeping cool with Dyson AM06 fan [REVIEW]

Now when I think about pedestal fans I cringe at how unsafe they are, how unreliable and steady they are. When you have kids in the house they crawl over these bulky legs that help pedestal them up, I think about how I was younger how close my siblings and I would get to sing into the fan as it made your voice go funny and how many times I nearly got my hair caught in them from being too close.
It's amazing to think they are still selling and are 'safe'.

Hasn't it been all our wishes that someone would do something about how unsafe these pedestal fans are. Dyson once again have come to the rescue.
Have you heard of the blade-less fan yet? No, well you aren't around me enough to hear the rave of my new blade-less fan and how in love with it I am.

Dyson have added the blade-less fan to their range where you can be free of any potential harmful bladed fans. I kid you not you can stick your hand right through the middle of it.

See I wasn't joking - hand is right through the middle of the AM06.  

I first came across this fan around a year and half ago now and I was pictured blowing bubbles from it. It's not until now that I have finally been able to add one to my household.
I can fear not by having this in my little munchkins room at night as it makes little noise when blowing air.

For those who like to be energy efficient you'll love this spec to it. The AM06 consumes less than 40% power in comparison to their other model fans. More savings on the power bill #winning.

The Dyson AM06 will rotate and allow you to move it to be on a tilt in which it will move from it's base and tilt either forward or backwards.

The LED light display makes it easy to see in the dark as to what you are doing and what the fan is set too.

More things that I love about the Dyson is:

Remote Controlled - Gone are the days you have to fight with someone to get up when it's hot to change the settings on the phone. You can change the settings all with the click of a button. Even a timer can be set to turn off the fan.

Super easy to clean and look after - No annoying blades and taking the fan apart like pedestals to clean the fan blades and having to get the silly cover back on without throwing it out for hard rubbish collection because it never lines up. Simply wipe over the dyson's ring and your done.

Lightweight - Moving the AM06 is like moving a newborn baby, it's super lightweight and won't break nails awkwardly carrying it.

2 year warranty - Hello extra years warranty. Rest easy with knowing you are covered for longer.

Slimline and sleek - The Dyson AM06 is stylish. Not bulky, not this huge thing that takes up a whole corner of the house.

The only bad side I can find to the Dyson AM06 is the price point which is around the $300-$400 mark for the AM06 fan. Not affordable but it is an investment to being more safe within the home, long term saving on the power bills and more peace and quiet in the home.

Disclosure: This post has been made in collaboration with Dyson, I received a AM06 as above mentioned in exchange for its promotion here. I received no payment for this review and all opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.
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