Monday, 11 June 2018

EXTRA ITALIAN MINESTRONE SOUP



We recently partnered with Aldi to celebrate their Soup & Steam special buys (on until Wednesday 13 June 2018).

**we were given a voucher to purchase the ingredients - not a sponsored post

I decided to make something a little more creative and outside the box. I LOVE Minestrone Soup! But I wanted to mix it up and make it a little more spicy!



Here's our recipe!

Ingredients:


1 x tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 x brown onion
2 x tablespoons minced garlic
300g butternut pumpkin
1 x zucchini
1 x carrot
1 x can cannelloni beans
2 cans diced tomatoes
1.8L Vegetable stock (I used the liquid)
2 x tablespoons of tomato paste
2 x tablespoons of Italian herbs
2 cups of Fusilli pasta
1 x chorizo/ Italian spicy sausage


 Method:

* I used a 4L Cast Iron pot - this mixture JUST fit in there so if you have something bigger, use that!

- Dice all vegetables (1cm ish cubes)
- Heat oil in pot and add in the onion and garlic and brown for a few minutes
- Add the rest of the vegetables and the Italian herbs and stir through  (you'll want to eat everything right now because it looks so delicious!)
- Add the vegetable stock, cans of tomatoes and tomato paste and mix everything together
- Simmer for 30 minutes
- Drain the beans and add them in
- Simmer for additional 10 minutes
- Add pasta
- Simmer for an additional 10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked to your liking!





ENJOY! 

 

Please let me know if you make this! Tag me on Instagram! @tahanalee

Keep smiling!

Tahana x 

Monday, 12 March 2018

How to: Positive Co-parenting


When I get asked to write about co-parenting, I really don't want to. This experience is so new and so extremely personal to me but the thing is, I have always shared everything because it always made me feel better about everything and hey, if this helps even one other separated couple to build a better relationship for their child, then I am happy... so, with Ben's permission, here we go.

It didn't start off amazing, I openly admit. I didn't deal with our relationship ending very well. I was lost, confused and in a circumstance I never imagined I would be in. Ben didn't deal very well either. We didn't know what to do, we didn't know how to feel or what to say to each other and at the time we were angry with each other and had just lived together for three weeks knowing we had ended. Things weren't great at all. We spent the first two weeks after Ben moved out arguing with each other via text (oh yes, what a great platform to express your emotion and expect the other person to completely understand...NOT).

After two weeks of this Ben CALLED me. And it was the best thing to happen to our new relationship. And that's exactly what it is, co-parenting is a relationship. Probably not one that either of you expected to have with each other but it's a relationship none the less and like any relationship, it takes work and this one, takes a HELL of a lot of work.

Here's some things that have helped us get through these last few months while maintaining a positive environment for Achilles.

PATIENCE.

Look, you're both in a pretty shitty place right now. The relationship has ended, its obvious you both need to work on yourselves and find your feet in this new co-parenting world so it is really important to be patient with each other. No one is going to be perfect every day. Feelings will pop up every now and then because you were in love and that can't change over night. Expect confusion, hurt, and an array of both positive and negative emotions but if you can, take advantage of the fact you have this person, who knows you better than anyone, who is going through the exact same thing. Be patient and kind to each other and talk about your feelings. As uncomfortable as it may be, it helps.

TALK.

This leads me to my next point. Talk. It is really hard to talk to the person you're trying not to feel in love with anymore, every single day. But talking often, for us,  allowed us to build a friendship.  In saying all this, it is a two way street and you both have to want to speak. Even just having conversations about your day and sharing things about your child/children and just having a laugh really helps form a new relationship.

SHARE.

I could not think of anything worse than the father of my son missing out on everything. I send photos and videos to Ben of Achilles. I've had people tell me not to do this and many other things I do for Ben because "Why would you want to make it easy on him?" UMMM WHY WOULD I NOT WANT TO MAKE LIFE EASIER FOR THE FATHER OF MY CHILD? And he does the same for me. He will help whenever I ask. Why wouldn't you want the father/ mother of your child to be in a positive frame of mind and have them have as little stress as possible so they can focus on being a good person and father/ mother. The amount of negativity that has been thrown my way since Ben and I broke up has actually been ridiculous. People telling me it won't work, people telling me not to share things with him and say "let him wonder what he's missing".  I am not a negative or spiteful person and I refuse to be just because our relationship didn't work. A co-parenting relationship will not work when you hang on to these negative behaviours - LET IT GO AND JUST BE HAPPY.

KNOWING IT WON'T ALWAYS BE PERFECT.

Ok so Ben and I do better than most separated parents. I know this because I am constantly told things like "I wish my parents got along like you and Ben when I was younger" and "I wish my ex and me could get along like you and Ben". BUT please know that our co-parenting relationship isn't always perfect and that is completely ok. We go through stages where we are just civil with each other and don't really talk beyond that. So many aspects of this are new to both of us so we really cannot be perfect all the time and neither can our friendship. We also go through stages where we can't stand each other...again, completely normal, in the end, we are going through a break up and you're always going to disagree on some things.

IN THE END...

In the end, no matter what, the most important thing that makes a co-parenting relationship successful is just respecting each other. They are the other parent to your child. You don't have to be best friends or spend time together. But, we want Achilles to grow up knowing when he needs us, we will both be there and we will be able to be in the same room without our son feeling uncomfortable. Any issues we ever have will be pushed aside for the benefit of our son. It takes maturity, respect, dedication and support. I can guarantee you it is hard and challenging and it won't always be good between you. But you have to put certain things aside because it creates a positive environment for everyone. And what is better than everyone being happy? NOTHING...


Keep smiling

Tahana

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Signs your relationship is just not working anymore


**I am writing this post because I have had several messages from women asking me about this... I hope this can help even one person.Now before I get in to this post, I just want to be clear, I am not a relationship expert, I am simply writing from my experiences in my past relationships.

***Very important note*** One thing I wish Ben and I did before deciding to end things is see a relationship counsellor. Bringing a child in to the world, whilst amazingly beautiful, completely turns your world upside down. It brings exhaustion, stress, money worries, potential post natal depression (which can happen in men too by the way) and many other feelings and emotions. Its such a big change and nothing and no one can prepare you for the change. I think once you have children, its important to see a relationship counsellor regularly, even if everything is great. There is no harm in constantly working on your relationship and making sure you're both doing ok. Because sometimes its really hard to let every one know that you're not ok. Would it have saved us? Who knows and probably not but at least we could have said we tried and that we did everything we could and in the end we knew it wasn't meant to be. In our case, unfortunately, we just let it go on for too long. We would talk about seeing a counsellor but by the time we got around to it, things were 'good' again so we didn't see the need. Seeing someone who is completely independent to your situation will allow you and your partner to communicate things you might not feel comfortable saying in front of each other, or force you to really listen to what the other person has to say. Before you call it quits on your relationship based on what I write below, please consider this first. Cover all bases before you just give up on what was once (obviously) a beautiful love story.

Sign one...

You're not happy

Most of the time, its not that you're unhappy, its just that you're not happy. You don't feel the happiness that used to come with your relationship. Love and relationships certainly aren't all rainbows however, you are supposed to be happy more than anything. If you constantly find yourself emotional, crying and just generally feeling pretty crappy and upset, its a really good time to assess where this is coming from. Is your partner not showing you enough love, are they acting distant, are they not listening to what you have to say? Happiness is imperative to making a relationship work. If you're not happy, then maybe this relationship isn't for you? In saying that I wish Ben and I saw a counsellor, I also wish we ended things earlier. We were both not happy for a long time and when I look back, such a waste of our lives feeling crappy and essentially, doing it to each other. Usually, we are two bright, energetic people who thrive on making others happy... and yet, we couldn't even do that for each other.  Don't wait for things to magically become better. Unless both parties are willing to put in some serious effort to change things, its not likely anything will become better anytime soon.

Sign two...

Things change

Whether its you or your partner, when things change, it's not normally a good sign.Sure, its completely normal to grow and evolve and be interested in other things, but when you're in love, you openly share that information with your partner. If you find yourself, or if you notice your partner not wanting to spend as much time together, chances are, maybe the love is fading.

Sign three...

You argue or bicker a lot (like a lot, a lot!)

I'll be honest, I don't remember half of what we bickered about but in the end it felt like there was something almost every day. We were both at our whits end. On top of both being exhausted, unhappy, feeling isolated and unloved and maybe a little resentful of each other, it was all just too much and I think we just ended up hating everything about each other. After doing quite a lot of research on relationships after having a child (and seeing multiple posts from other couples going through the same thing), arguing frequently, is normal. At the time, we didn't know this. We had never argued before. We literally were just always happy. And then Achilles came along (TOTALLY NOT blaming him one bit) and we became exhausted, more stressed about finances, we were both under a lot of pressure in regards to work and I guess we just took it all out on each other.

**Note for this one** But guess what.. that's what a partnership is all about, being there for each other, understanding the other persons frustrations, understanding they're exhausted because of everything they do and understand that life is full of the unexpected and people cannot always be perfect and its ok to have a break down, scream a little and say things you don't mean. But when you love them, you love them through the imperfect and you unite as one to get through this. Partners are partners for a reason. You unite together and work through the hard.
In saying all of this, if your relationship isn't strong enough to realise all of this and instead of the bad times bringing you together and making your relationships stronger, it tears you a part, then it's time again to either seek professional help or re-evaluate your relationship. I guess we thought, because we had never argued before that we were suddenly not working anymore instead of seeing it as an opportunity to make our relationship even stronger.
**I just want to note here there is a big difference between arguments and bickering and abusive behavior. Arguments involving violence are NEVER okay and if you are experiencing this, I suggest you immediately seek professional help. Free counselling is available through the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service 1800 737 732 (Australia only)

Sign four...

You can't communicate

Communication is one of the absolute keys to a successful relationship and when you can't communicate successfully, there isn't much hope. When you don't communicate often, little things, become big things and the big things become massive, relationship breaking things. I would suggest making a time each day to sit and talk about everything that's on your mind together. If the other person isn't interested, it's time to have a serious chat about the future of your relationship.

Sign five...

You don't make time for each other

Spending time on your phones on opposite ends of the couch doesn't count as quality time with each other. Unfortunately, this became our norm and it's no wonder we lost our spark. We had a grand total of ONE baby free date in 16 months. ONE....
I think making time to spend alone together is so important for a relationship to succeed. One on one, to concentrate on and build your love and remind yourselves that life really is fun and despite the challenges, you can come together and overcome everything that gets thrown your way. Make one day per week and that's your date day. Whether you take turns to organise something at home or you visit somewhere new together, make the time to work on the "US". I'm a big believer in the relationship being number one above everything. Because when you're both happy, everyone is happy.


Whether you're a man or woman, whether you're married, dating or in a long term relationship, any or all of these are signs that your relationship needs some serious help or it may just be the wrong relationship for you. People drift out of love for many different reasons and that's okay. What is not okay is disrespecting ourselves and the other person by staying in these relationships if you really have no desire to make things work.  Whether you're on either end of this, respect yourself and your happiness to walk away.

Break ups can be heart breaking and incredible difficult to recover from, especially when at one stage, you thought this person was the absolute love of your life and you thought you would spend your days growing old with them, getting tattoos, riding motorbikes and jumping out of planes together when you're 80.

But life is not always how we dream it will be. But these hard times in life teach us to be strong, to respect ourselves and know that we are enough and we all deserve to be in a happy relationship that is full of happiness, respect, unity and above all, unconditional love.

Through all of this, keep smiling and remember that love is beautiful and whether these signs spell the end of your relationship or whether they make you realise that the spark that you've dulled it worth re-igniting, remember, everything will be ok. <3

Tahana xo

Thursday, 22 February 2018

How to: transition to cruelty free


If you're reading this, you're at least a little bit interested in transitioning in to cruelty free or  interested in hearing what it's all about.

Honestly, I cannot believe I didn't do this sooner. When it's not in your face, it's easy to not think about and push aside what goes on behind the scenes of making some beauty products. But let me tell you, it's not pretty and it's really cruel (hence why we are going cruelty free). Unfortunately, a lot of companies still test their products on animals.

Whilst I wish we lived in a world where Elle Woods was real life and testing on animals was illegal, unfortunately we don't. And that's where we come in. It's our jobs to be the Elle Woods' of the world and stand up for those who have no voice.

Transitioning to cruelty free means that we no longer support companies that test on animals and the more of us that just support companies who don't involve animals in the making of their products, the more the bigger companies will see that consumers won't stand for the cruelty and hopefully they will follow suit!  It's actually so much more simple than I thought. I took it really slow and within a year, I am now completely cruelty free in my home. Please don't think it's something you have to do overnight, it really is a process but it can actually be a really fun one which allows you to discover so many wonderful brands that have amazing ethics and are really the kinds of brands you want to support.

Here are my tips to anyone wanting to start the transition to cruelty free!

Don't throw anything away

This one is really important. Going cruelty free doesn't mean suddenly disposing of everything in your home that tests on animals. The products that I loved that weren't cruelty free, I used up. Whilst continuing to use those products, I researched cruelty free alternatives so that when I ran out, I could purchase a cruelty free product. Other products I wasn't too fussed on, I sold, gave away or donated. Using up products you have paid for whilst researching alternatives at the same time will make you feel more confident in your transition and not make you feel like you've wasted money. As I said above, this isn't something you do over night, it is a transition and transitions take time. I just committed to not making any new purchases of products that I knew were not cruelty free.

Research

I can't tell you how many hours I have put in to cruelty free research and it's actually really fun. Whilst I personally do not research what actually happens to the animals when they are tested on because it would upset me too much, it may be something you want to look in to if you want to completely understand the importance of making the cruelty free movement a big one.
I really enjoy learning about which companies do and do not test on animals. Every time I am in a store and see a product I am interested, I whip out my phone and learn more about the company behind it.
I have also built a list of my own of my trusted brands that I love to purchase from (I will be releasing this list in my next cruelty free blog post).

Have a support network

I was lucky enough to have a few of my beauty blogger friends also transitioning to cruelty free at the same time. We were able to have discussions about brands and products and we even made our own Facebook group which you are more than welcome to join by searching "Cruelty Free Bloggers Australia" - every one is welcome. Having friends making this change with you really helps. We are always supporting each other in the transition and it really makes it not only easier but fun as well.

Know the best websites and Apps!

Here is a list of websites and apps that have gotten me through the last year.

Cruelty Free Kitty

Choose Cruelty Free

Peta Beauty List  (don't sign up to their mailing list unless you want emails every day with confronting images)



Know the bunnies

Although some cruelty free companies are smaller and can't afford the bunny certification, these are the only three bunnies that are certified cruelty free. Please note it is perfectly legal for a company to claim to be cruelty free when they aren't. It makes things tricky for us but its why research is important. But you can be assured, if one of the bunnies below is on the product, then the company is cruelty free! 

 

Know the big companies to avoid

Some big companies can claim to be cruelty free but most of them will have a clause along the lines of "except where required by law". This means when big companies sell to countries like China (which requires all products to be tested on animals), they actually pay to have their products tested on animals, therefore, making them a company that tests on animals. HERE is a list of the big companies that DO test on animals that you may want to avoid in the future. It really is such a shame, these companies have the means and the money to really change the world of animal testing but instead, they are more interested in making more money by selling in China. Recently, NARS (previously cruelty free) took a GIANT leap backwards and decided to start selling in China, rendering them a non-cruelty free company.

Don't forget about other products

When we think "cruelty free" we immediately think of beauty products. But don't forget about everything else. Toothpaste, hand wash, body wash, shampoo, dry shampoo, cleaning products, laundry powder and even the products you use on your children and pets! Yes, all of these products can also be tested on animals unfortunately.  THIS website is AMAZING for finding products in each category that are cruelty free!

Going cruelty free really made me see the beauty industry in a different light. As a beauty blogger, of course this meant that the products I received from companies drastically reduced. But my morals and ethics are worth so much more than getting free shit. Now, I work with companies I love and that carry their testing out on humans! I think its also important to note that you shouldn't now judge others who use non-cruelty free products. Remember, we all have to start somewhere and the more we post about using cruelty free products, the more people we will encourage to do the same! We must not push our thoughts on to others, rather put them out in to the world and let everyone take them as they wish.

The most important tip I can give is to HAVE FUN with it! And don't get discouraged if you think its all a bit overwhelming. There is a lot to think of but you don't have to do it all at once. Take it one product at a time if you have to.

Keep smiling

Tahana xo

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Tips for Surviving a Major Break Up


Any break up is pretty horrible no matter the circumstances. Some are worse than others but they all hurt.

Here are some tips that have helped me along the way and some tips I wish I had taken on instead of putting myself through hell.

Do not compare your healing process with someone else's

Sure, I posted some pretty real and raw photos during the time when I was hurting. I posted a photo of me crying. It has to this day, been my most popular photo I have ever posted. The most likes, the most comments and the most reach. Why? Because its relatable and its honest. But if I was completely real and honest with everyone during those days, I would have been posting photos like that every day. Social media is such a great platform for so many things but not everyone will share their darkest days with you. So don't think just because some look like they have it all together that they necessarily do. I admit, I dealt with everything much better than I thought I would but I certainly had a lot of days of struggle. Everyone deals with things in lots of different ways. Find a way that works for you and go with that. Don't worry about what everyone else is doing. Focus on you and getting through your darkness into a new light. 

Be Kind to Yourself

Most breakups (not all but most), when you actually think about it, are no ones fault. There is nothing either person could have done to change the eventual outcome. Sometimes, love just isn't enough. Don't think about the what ifs. "What if I had done this" and "What if I didn't do that"...those thoughts will lead you no where but in to a pit of depression and sadness which does horrible things to ones soul. Be kind to yourself and accept that this is the end of one chapter BUT think of all the beautiful things yet to come in your life... which will only happen if you're open to them. Be kind to yourself. It is OKAY that this relationship didn't work.

Make Plans

Do not... I repeat... DO NOT spend too much time alone during the initial period of your break up. I didn't speak to or see anyone for weeks and it was the worst thing I could have done to myself. Call on all of your closest friends to visit you, call you and go out with you as often as possible. Trust me, I know that all you want to do is be sad and alone but this will fast track your healing process and allow you to move on and be happy instead of trying to hold on to something that no longer exists.

DO NOT look for someone else.

Stay OFF Tinder. Men are the absolute worst for this! They have a major break up and they freak out about being along and immediately seek another relationship.
Any relationship you force, WILL NOT WORK and you will end up hurt (or hurting someone else) again. It's just not worth it. Take the time to be alone, and deal with your break up instead of trying to push the issue aside and cover it up with another one. Being alone isn't as bad as some people think. It is actually quite liberating when you're able to secure happiness within yourself and not depend on anyone else to make you happy. Embrace that feeling. I know I will sound cliche in saying this but honestly, the more you take the time to love, honour and respect yourself, the more others will too.

Self Love

When I say self love, I don't mean go get a facial and a manicure (although that will probably help too), I mean really sit down and appreciate yourself. Going through a breakup can be incredibly hard and sometimes, soul destroying. Practice self love by taking care of your body. Feed it well, keep it active and work on your mind as well. I've been using meditation as a tool to calm my mind. I find it really helps on the days where I am overwhelmed. Everyday, write down what you are grateful for to remind yourself that there are still so many things to be thankful for in your life: family, friends, health, a career...just to name a few.

Realise the situation 

This will sound a little "tough love" but think about it. There are so many bigger issues in the world (and your world) than a break up. You were lucky enough to experience a love strong enough that it hurt to end it. Some people never experience a relationship. There is so much more to life than love and you will love again and you may get hurt again... but so what... you're one step closer to maybe finding the one and if you don't? Is it really the worst thing? I have come to terms with the thought of never finding the one. Does that thought hurt? Yes... but it doesn't make me not want to enjoy my life as it is right now. There are so many things in life to be grateful for that you already have. Health. Family. Friends. Opportunities. Jobs. A roof over your head (just to name a few). Focus on the bigger picture and you will see how little this matters in the world. Being hurt is a part of life but it allows us to learn more about ourselves and grow.

Keep smiling

Tahana xo
 
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