Good morning everyone, I hope your week is off to a great start, although if you are anywhere in the southern part of Australia I am sure you too are feeling the full force of winter - stay warm! Last Friday I finished my last exam for the semester, which means I am now looking forward to a long month of uni holidays, during which time I am planning to go on lots of brunches, relax, do lots of yoga and meditation and work (more on that later in this post). But let's start at the beginning, here is Edition 16 of What I'm Loving Wednesday.

This week I am...

Reading:MiNDFOOD Magazine

If you were to ask me what magazines I loved to read a few years ago, I probably would have named a few of the classic titles such as Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, InStyle.... just your average, women's lifestyle and fashion magazine. But then I discovered MiNDFOOD, and I was an immediate convert. Whilst MiNDFOOD still has the aesthetic appeal of classic magazines, its content focuses on mindful and ethical living, world issues, interesting people stories, and health and spirituality. It quite literally is mind food! So when my Mum came down to Melbourne and brought me the latest copy of MiNDFOOD, I was pretty stoked to say the least. I also love their puzzle section, which always includes at least two mindful colouring designs. Grab a copy of MiNDFOOD, get a cup of tea and settle down for a relaxing few hours of inspiring and educational reading.

Listening to:Depth Over Distance (Ben Howard)

I fell in love with this song whilst watching a YouTube video several years ago and it still remains one of my favourite songs of all time. It is beautiful, soulful and has lyrics that resonate incredibly deeply with me. I feel it also one of the few songs that really feels spiritual, but is also just an incredibly beautiful song in its own right.

Watching:Catalyst - Meditation: Can it really change you?

Catalyst, a weekly documentary program on the ABC, is without a doubt one of my favourite shows. Each 30-minute episode is dedicated to investigating some new discovery, idea or frontier in science and whilst the topics are extremely varied, they often focus on new findings regarding health and wellness. Catalyst is definitely on the forefront of breaking research, often reporting on ideas that are so new and so challenging that there can be backlash from viewers and industry... but that is a story for another day! When I was home I watched this episode of Catalyst that aims to investigate the tangible effects of meditation on physical and mental health. It is definitely worth a watch. And if you are concerned they might present biased views, my experience is that Catalyst almost always shows both or all perspectives on a certain issue, leaving the viewer to make the penultimate decision.

P.S. While you are on iView, I would also recommend the episodes: Fit in 6 Minutes a Week, Exercise and Cancer, and Antibiotic Resistance.



I'm just going to leave you with this one... I found it a little while ago and it still rings true.

Hart & Soul goody box

Hart & Soul goody box

Eating:Soups (courtesy of Hart & Soul)

I was fortunate enough a few weeks ago to be contacted by Hart & Soul and asked if I would like to receive some samples of their latest range of soups and DIY soup and curry mixes. Delighted and very excited, I accepted their offer and a few days later the box pictured arrived at my front door.

Coconut & Lentil Soup by Hart & Soul

Coconut & Lentil Soup by Hart & Soul

I was very grateful because during my busiest week of exams these soups literally kept me going and saved me having to think about what I was going to cook each night. Even though I love cooking and preparing my own food, sometimes having a quick, easy option is just what you need. I loved the flavours and concepts of each soup, even though I wouldn't necessarily choose some of them myself (some of the soups do contain sugar, so read the labels). However, having said that, these soups are probably  the most natural and best option available at the big supermarkets and if you are a time-poor person, looking for health-conscious and affordable options, these soup pouches and kits are a pretty great place to start.

So thank you again, Hart & Soul, for my delicious soups. And because I value in transparency, I was in no way encouraged or paid for this post, I am simply sharing this story and product with you because I want to.

Pondering: self-centredness 

In the past week two very important people in my life have told me (in what I hope was a loving way) that I am self-centred. But the thing is, I don't really mind. Here's why...

I believe so strongly in the importance of self-love and self-care that being called self-centred is, in some twisted way, a compliment. I acknowledge that at this stage in my life, my life does revolve around me. I do dedicate a lot of time to doing things for me, taking care of myself and blogging (for the most part) about myself and my life. The self-centred life I lead now is the result of more than four years of efforts aimed at going from a place of self-hatred and almost non-existent self-esteem to a place of self-love. It has been a long journey and it continues each day, and I enjoy sharing it with the people in my life. And perhaps, in time, my focus will change, but right now I am happy with how it is.

Having said all that, I do hope that I am not narcissistic. Because I don't just think that I have a right to be self-centred, but that everyone has the right to and should be self-centred. I respect other people who are self-centred. I don't think I am better than anyone else, but instead that every person in this world is unique, amazing and special in their own right. I have friends who I wish were WAY more self-centred than they are now, because they simply don't take enough care of themselves and end up exhausted, depleted and unable to do the things they want to do as a consequence. Self-care and self-love should be a priority for everyone, because it is by taking care of yourself first that you are able to then help others. Self-care is not selfish! It is from a self-centred basis that you can be generous and loving with your time and energy. Does that make sense? I'd love to hear your (honest) thoughts on this topic.

P.S. To those two people who told me this, thank you.

Moving: DIY park workouts

I often joke that when I get the urge to run I always follow it, because it rarely happens! However, last week, after spending a full day at my desk studying, I was overcome with a desire to get outside and get my blood pumping, so I went down to the nearest park for a quick jog. Once I finished I found a park bench and did some push ups, tricep dips, single-legged squats and the like to complete my little workout. And man, it felt good! Whilst I am no exercise fanatic or guru, I do think that sometimes we over complicate things by trying to stick to regimented schedules or crazy workout routines. All you need to do is move your body in a way that feels good, and ideally every day. So for me that is usually yoga and walking, but other times it is a run and park workout. Just do something, anything, because it is guaranteed to be better than nothing at all!

Aiming to: be body positive

Like most girls, in fact most (if not all) human beings, I have struggled and do struggle with body image from time to time. Unfortunately, I think part of living in the modern world is having to deal with this insane culture in which we are expected to aim for unattainable perfection and constantly compare ourselves to others, which can lead to serious self-esteem and body image issues. It really is no wonder mental health issues surrounding body image are on the rise. As a teenager, like most others, I was acutely aware of my own body and went through phases of feeling complete despair and disgust at my own body. I am sure many of you can relate to having a loop of negative self-talk in your head, constantly telling you that you are fat/look fat, your thighs are too wobbly, your skin/hair/face is gross and so on...

Ever since I went to Alpine School in Year 9, and firmly set my goal to practice positive affirmations my relationship with my body image has been improving, but it is not perfect. Lately, I noticed my thoughts slipping back into some pretty negative pattern of body hate and belittlement. Keen not to let it get out of hand, I started to practice more mindfulness and consciously replaced negative thoughts as they popped up with positive alternatives, such as "My body is fit, healthy and vibrant". It is not easy, I know that, but being aware that we are all human and we all have these struggles is the first step. Then you just have to commit to replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. It is tricky at first but gradually becomes easier with practice. And the change in your mental attitude after only a few days is pretty profound and awesome.

You are beautiful. Your body is perfect. You are loved.

Grateful for: my new job at Happy Place

If you follow me on social media (Instagram mostly) then I have to apologise for the complete and utter Happy Place spam that has occurred over the last week. As I mentioned in my vlog the other day, I was fortunate enough to score a job at the coolest new place in town (well, I think so anyway), Happy Place. Happy Place is Lola Berry's new smoothie bar and health food café located at the South Melbourne Markets, that she has created with Salvatore from St Ali (another Melbourne cafe icon).

As I am a HUGE Lola Berry fan, I was beyond stoked to get what is basically my dream job. I get to work with a rad bunch of people making delicious smoothies and serving up healthy treats, and chat to customers about our menu options, crystals and a healthy lifestyle! The first week has been freakin' awesome, although it has also been SUPER busy, which is fantastic. I also got to meet trainer Luke Hines (aka Trainer Luke) when he visited the store the other day (top right of the photo collage). So I'd just like to take a moment to express my utter gratitude for this amazing opportunity and for all the cool people I get to work with, including Lola Berry herself!