Review: Lush BIG sea salt shampoo

IF THERE is a shampoo with more hype around it than Big, I haven’t heard of it!

Lush Big shampoo review | Extraordinary Days blog

Little container, big hype.

I finally got my hands in this sea salt shampoo, which promises to give hair a lot of lift and volume and make it “easy to get a comb through”.
It also has seaweed, coconut to make hair soft and fresh lemons and limes for shine.
Having thin hair, I really, really wanted this to work.
Unfortunately, my hair did not want to play the game.

Lush Big shampoo review | Extraordinary Days blog

Lush Big sea salt shampoo.

My usually tangle-free locks became a massive mess after I washed it with Big, so much so that I could barely comb it, even when wet. I was worried I’d pull out all of my hair before I got out all of the knots!
I tried this twice, once when I let my hair dry naturally, (which usually results in lovely curls) and once when I blow-dried and straightened it.
On both occasions I didn’t notice a difference in volume once my hair was dry.
After blow-drying it was just as fluffy as it always is and when I let it dry naturally I ended up with LESS curls than I usually do!
Sure, I got some loose, beachy waves but nothing like the tighter coils I usually get.

Lush Big comparison | Extraordinary Days blog

Hair after using Lush Big and air-drying and how it usually dries.

(The photo on the right is from this post about flower crowns!
While I didn’t get the results I wanted, there are some things I really like about this product.
It smells completely divine, it is made up of natural, vegan and cruelty free ingredients and the pot is made of recycled plastic.

Lush Big shampoo review | Extraordinary Days blog

I love Lush’s use of natural and sustainable ingredients.

Lush Big shampoo review | Extraordinary Days blog

It smells divine!

I’ve heard other people really love it so I’d say it’s worth a try!
Pick it up here.

Have you tried Big? What were your experiences?

What I’ve learned from six months of blogging

IT’S been a big six months!
When I first started this little spot on the internet, I had no idea how much I would love it.
While I put off starting this for months longer than I should have, I was really glad when I finally did.
It’s been a massive learning curve though! Here are some of the things I picked up on during the past six months.

What I've learned in six months of blogging | Extraordinary Days blog

It’s been a whirlwind ride!

Everything takes time:
From brainstorming ideas to writing posts, taking photos and putting posts together, blogging is a time-consuming process.
That doesn’t even take into account all the time you’ll spend on your blog’s Twitter, Instagram, Bloglovin and Pinterest pages to promote your blog!
This is something I really didn’t expect when I started this blog. It’s a labour of love but it takes a while to put everything together!

You have to be organised:
It just won’t work if you aren’t.
I have to fit in a full-time job, about two and a half hours per day commuting, seeing friends and sleep. It can be done but it isn’t easy.
When I started writing this post I was on a plane, watching Captain America – you just learn to fit in blog activities with your schedule.
For example, I get my lovely family and friends to take outfit photos before events and I’ll take a range of photos in advance so they’re ready to use whenever I need them.

Other people are so inspiring:
There are so many people out there creating amazing content.
Whether they’ve been blogging for a few years or a few months, there are a lot of really cool people on the Internet!
Twitter and Bloglovin are the ways I use most to find new blogs. (Check out my Twitter feed here, I’m always retweeting awesome content from wicked bloggers I find!)

Don’t expect people to interact with your blog if you don’t do it with anyone else’s:
Your blog doesn’t exist in a vacuum.
Unfortunately there are people out there that think just promoting their own content is enough – but interacting with others is an awesome part of the blogger community!
The best way to do this is read, read and read some more! And if you like what you’ve read, let the author know!
Joining a Twitter chat is also a great way to meet new people and bounce ideas off each other. Check out these great list of blog chats I found here and here – so useful!)
We’re all in this together!

Sponsored posts are a very fine line to tread:
While there are bloggers out there who can pull of doing a sponsored post (they’ve usually been doing it for a while and have a great reputation), it’s not for everyone.
I find it frustrating that so many new bloggers say yes to everything that gets sent to them.
Most of the time I have no idea if that’s what they actually think about a product or it’s what they want the company to read.
Building up a strong reputation first is important so people know they can trust you.

Some days you just don’t be feeling it:
Blog burnout is real.
There are times where you won’t want to even look at your computer screen, let alone create and promote posts. I went through a really stressful time last month (which helped me create this post about awesome ways to tackle stress)
On days like this, it’s OKAY to take a break, switch off for a day and do something you enjoy.
You’ll feel better in the long run and come back refreshed.

Have fun and do it because you love it:
There are a lot of people who give blogging a go and just don’t love it as much as others.
But for those who stick around, it’s because they absolutely love what they do.
It’s your little space on the Internet, do with it what you will!

I’m looking forward to another big six months!
I can’t thank you enough for reading this blog, whether you’ve been around from the start or whether this is your first visit.
Without you, this would be much more like shouting into the void and I love sharing my life and experiences in this way.

Do you have a blog? What have you learned? (Also, make sure to post a link to your blog so I can check it out!)

Time for tea!

OH HOW I love tea!
I’ve never been a coffee drinker and while until recently my morning beverage of choice was a Red Bull, I’ve always enjoyed a cuppa throughout the day, especially in the cooler weather.
But as I’ve been making the switch to finally having less caffeine (like I’ve been saying I would for years), tea has become an even better friend so I wanted to share my favourite brews with you.

Time for tea - my favourite blends | Extraordinary Days blog

Time for a cuppa!

T2 Melbourne Breakfast:

This English breakfast-type tea is my favourite to have with milk. It’s got hints of vanilla which gives it a really sweet taste. Predictably, it’s much better than T2’s Perth Breakfast, which is more like an earl grey. Perfect with morning or afternoon tea or after dinner if you’re not up to dessert. At the moment I’m using loose leaves with a T2 mesh ball.


Red Seal Relaxing Tea:

Red seal relaxing tea | Extraordinary Days blog

Great for nerves.

This caffeine-free herbal tea has been a massive lifesaver in recent times. I found it in a health food store while I was looking for something to help me de-stress! (For other excellent ways to calm down when things get rough, check out this other post I wrote.)

The tea has passion flower, strawberry leaf, valerian and, my personal favourite, catnip. I know valerian root tablets work for me when I’m having trouble sleeping so I think that’s the ingredient that has the biggest impact for me, but not so much that it makes me drowsy at work. I’d definitely recommend this one!


Twinings Herbal Infusions Pure Peppermint:

Twinings peppermint tea | Extraordinary Days blog

Fresh breath is a plus.

Lately I’ve been turning to peppermint tea after big meals as it’s supposed to help with digestion. This light Twinings blend also leaves me with a tingly mouth and fresh breath, bonus! No milk needed for this one.

 

Planet Organic Female Balance Herbal Tea:

Planet Organic Female Balance Tea | Extraordinary Days blog

Worth a try!

I picked up this tea when I was searching for something to help out with my skin, which was completely breaking out! I’m not sure of how much a difference this one makes but it’s worth a try if you’re searching for another way to help your skin. It has liquorice root, sage leaf, nettle leaf, chamomile flowers and lemongrass.

And with all this tea, you’re going to need some cute things to drink it out of!
This lovely Kikki K set was a birthday gift from two even lovelier friends of mine, Helen and Kerrie. (But you can get a similar set of your own here and here!)

Kikki K teapot and cup set | Extraordinary Days blog

Such a cute little set!

Kikki K tea cup set | Extraordinary Days blog

Live bright. Be you.

Sammy | Extraordinary Days blog

My little photoshoot helper, Sammy.

Are you a tea fan? What are your favourite types?

 

What to do when you’re completely stressed out!

What to do when you're completely stressed out | Extraordinary Days blog

STRESS. It comes and goes but some times are worse than others.
When I mentioned that April had been a really crazy month for me in this post,  I was describing it lightly.
There were some intense problems at work and I took on some extra freelance writing as well and it was way too much!
Why I thought I could fit in hours of extra work on top of my full-time job, commuting for almost three hours each day and keeping this blog going, I have no idea.
I was exhausted, more stressed than I’ve ever been, irritable, unable to enjoy anything and I couldn’t make any headway in my work.
Luckily, things have calmed down a lot more now. At the very least it was a great learning experience and I am now more familiar with what my limits are.
But how do you know when you’re at that point?

I’m not an expert but these are some of the things I picked up on:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Constant worrying
  • Feeling tense, or having lots of pent-up energy
  • Feeling guilty about time spend relaxing or not working
  • Irritability or feeling constantly close to tears


How to fix it:

  • Make a list of what’s bothering you and possible solutions. This may help you figure out what problems you can tackle first and which ones will require more work to solve.
  • Sleep more. You’re never your best self when you’re tired so getting some shut eye might help you keep calm.
  • Eat healthy meals and eat enough. Look, I’m not the healthiest person but I know I get agitated when I’m hungry so making sure you eat is important. Making it something healthy is going to help because you need good fuel to run that body of yours.
  • Up your vitamin intake. To help counteract all the stress you’re is dealing with, vitamin B can be a great stress-reliever and echinacea, garlic, zinc and vitamin C will increase your immune system’s ability to cope with any bugs.

    What to do when you're completely stressed out | Extraordinary Days blog

    Vitamin B and echinacea, garlic, zinc and vitamin C.

  • Talk it over with someone you trust. Sharing what you’re going through with someone you can rely on can help you get your head around what’s bothering you and they may be able to help you brainstorm ideas for ways to help. At the very least, it will get it off your chest. A problem shared is a problem halved, right?
  • Get moving. I absolutely cannot recommend this more. When I’m feeling wound up and anxious, getting rid of that excess adrenaline makes a huge difference. It can be as simple as a brisk walk around the block. I’ve also started walking regularly  and I feel so much better for it.
  • Try a herbal remedy. Okay, part of me doesn’t want to believe that herbs and flowers can help calm you down, but it’s worked for me. Valerian root can help you sleep (but may cause nightmares in some people, just as a heads up) and I found it in a tea that really helped calm me down. Rescue Remedy has been a staple in my purse for years and lately I’ve also been using Brauer Calm tablets (a homeopathic remedy for stress) and Tinderbox lavender balm (which is a calming, soothing scent and Tinderbox is a Western Australian-made brand, too!). Whether the placebo effect has made a difference in my case remains to be seen, but I figured that if it could help, I was going to give it as try.
Natural stress relievers | Extraordinary Days blog

Rescue Remedy spray, Brauer Calm tablets and Tinderbox Lavender Balm.

  • Try yoga, meditation and breathing exercises. Focussing on your breath can assist in calming the mind and stretching can get rid of any tension you’ve built up in your muscle. I wrote another post about how yoga apps are totally awesome!
  • Get colouring. It’s not just for kids any more! Heaps of adults are now spending their down-time colouring in. My lovely friend Lisha gave me Creative Therapy – an anti-stress colouring book for my birthday and it’s great! The monotonous activity is surprisingly soothing.

    Colouring books for adults | Extraordinary Days

    This is a great way to spend some time out!

  • Allow yourself some time every day, even if it’s just 10 minutes, to do something you enjoy. This can be as easy as reading a book, looking at cat videos or painting your nails.
  • Take regular breaks. I wrote another post about why it’s so important to take your lunch break. You deserve it!
  • Get some help from the experts. If you’re in a rough spot and really struggling, talking to your GP or another mental health professional about what you’re going through, or getting some more information from places like beyondblue or Lifeline should be your next step.

Hopefully with these tips you can help get rid of some of the tension in your life.
What are your go-to ways to relieve stress? Let me know in the comments!

Three ways to wear leopard print

GET that animal instinct!
I really love leopard print and it’s definitely a staple in my wardrobe. I’m happy to throw it into almost every outfit so I thought I’d throw together a little guide about how to incorporate it.
Three ways to wear animal print |Extraordinary Days

Get that animal instinct!

 
Traditional colours:
Three ways to wear animal print |Extraordinary Days

Simple accessories are key.

This SUPRE dress (yes, you read that right) is one of my favourites.
I love the light fabric, the way it hangs and the touch of faux leather on the shoulders is something a little bit different.
Because of the high neckline it doesn’t need a necklace and (although they’re covered by my hair) I have black stud earrings on.
I threw in some simple heel because the dress does all the talking.
 
Black and white:
Three ways to wear animal print |Extraordinary Days

Perfect for a day of running around!

This is great for a more casual look. Shorts, a coloured tee and a relaxed shirt are all you need.
I got this shirt from an op-shop and rolled up the sleeves – perfect for a picnic or a day in the sun!
Or swap the shorts for a pair of jeans if you need to be a bit warmer.
 
Bright colours:
Three ways to wear animal print |Extraordinary Days

I can’t get enough of this dress!

Now THIS is a statement piece!
This pink leopard-print midi dress is definitely something to wear when you’re feeling bold!
I like the length of this dress because it lengthens my figure and is less showy than it would be if it was shorter.
These big black platform pumps are also to die for!
 
The main rule for leopard print is to focus on one piece and keep everything else simple.
But, that said, rules are made to be broken!
I haven’t ever really tried the clashing prints style but never say never.
 
Do you love leopard print? What’s your favourite way to wear it?

Travel tips | Seven essential items for your hand luggage

TODAY felt like a fitting time to post this as I’m headed to the airport again!
I never expected to be heading back to Melbourne so soon (I was only there last month!) but my lovely friend Catherine had flights she bought in a sale last year but wasn’t able to get the time off work. So I’m going in her place! (Talk about blessed?!)
I’ve been lucky enough to have done a lot of travelling over the last few years so I’ve gotten pretty used to packing and knowing what I’ll need on a flight.
Without further ado, and in no particular order, let’s get into the list:

Travel tips | Seven essential items for your carry-on luggage | Extraordinary Days

All packed and ready to go!

Your electronic devices:
This one is kind of a given but you’d be surprised at the amount of time I’ve heard people say their phone/iPad/music player is almost out of battery just before they board.
Not every plane is equipped with those fancy TV screens in the back if the seat so you’re in for a boring flight if that’s what you were relying on to keep you entertained!
Also, it has to be said: don’t forget your headphones! Unless you want to shell out for a crappy pair at the airport, that is.

A good book or some magazines (or both!):
Perfect for when you’re trying to conserve the battery in your devices if you’ve got a long haul ahead of you or when you just can’t look at a screen any more.
Magazines are easy to digest between naps or in-flight meals and an interesting book can help you while away the hours.

Travel tips | Seven essential items for your carry-on luggage | Extraordinary Days

A good book or a magazine can make any flight go faster.

Something to hold all of your important documents in:
Itineraries, boarding passes, hotel bookings, passports – all of these are way too important to have float around at the bottom of your handbag.
I like keeping everything important in one place and this Typo documents folder that my lovely friend Amy gave me before my Europe trip last year fits the bill perfectly.
There are slots for everything and the whole thing zips up so nothing will fall out.

Travel tips | Seven essential items for your carry-on luggage | Extraordinary Days

A documents folder will help you stay organised.

A notebook:
Need some quiet time to get your ideas in order? A flight is the perfect place to do it.
You won’t be distracted by the internet (if your flight doesn’t have it) and as long as you can drown out the child crying three seats ahead with some music, you’re in for some quality thinking time.
This can even be as simple of a list of the things you want/need to get done on your trip, or in my case, more blog post ideas. (I never stop planning!)
Make sure you’ve got more than one pen, though.

Extra interesting things to do:
People may give you funny looks, but a colouring in book is an amazing way to while away the hours!
I like taking a crossword book too but I can neither confirm nor deny that I look at the answers to finish off the last few tricky spots.
Snacks can also help while away the hours. You’re probably going to be looking at the clock a lot less if your stomach isn’t rumbling.

Any camera film:
It’s recommended that you always take film in your hand luggage because the strong x-ray machines at the airport that scan your luggage can damage it.
I’ve read that many professional photographers don’t even let their carry-on luggage go through the scanners at security checkpoints, but instead request for their bags to be checked by hand.
This is probably not something you have to worry about if you’re not carrying a lot of expensive film, though.
My Instax Mini and the film for it are the first things I put into my hand luggage so I don’t forget!

Any toiletries or medicine you can’t go without:
My golden rule for travelling is not to put anything in your luggage that you can’t live without.
(My boyfriend found this out the hard way when we landed in Venice last year! It took two days for them to deliver his bag.)
I wear contact lenses so I always carry a small bottle of fluid and a case so I can take them out if my eyes get tired.
An eye mask is always handy if you know you’re going to want to sleep.
Hand cream, a lip balm, Panadol, motion sickness tablets, ear plugs and sleeping tablets are all in my hand luggage too.
And please, for the love of god, bring some tissues and don’t keep sniffing! It will make me want to murder you. I will embarrass you by handing you a tissue and asking you to stop.

I have just double checked my own hand luggage for all of these things, so it’s time to finish off my packing and head to the airport!
What are your essential items that you can’t fly without? Let me know in the comments!

 

Why you should take a lunch break today

Taking a lunch break is far more important than you think | Extraordinary Days

It’s time to make a change! (Picture: supplied)

SOME things you’ve got to learn from experience.

A year ago I would never have thought something as small as taking a break every day at work could actually make a difference to my mood and mental health.

I would eat at my desk every day, never stopping to enjoy what I was having and never switching out of work mode.

I was always trying to fit more into my work hours and if I, god forbid, did stop for a rest I was always filled with guilt that I wasn’t making the most of absolutely every minute of my day.

It’s not until I went on leave recently that I realised just how important it is to actually take a break.

I’ve got a fairly stressful job and I’d pretty much run myself into the ground by the time I went on holidays.

You’re allocated that hour (or half hour) every working day, so why not take it?

It helps break up your day:

Feeling flat? Are the hours dragging by? That lunch break is yours to fill with whatever you like and at the end, you’re an hour closer to home time!

Okay, sometimes you end up more sleepy than when you started but getting some fresh air can help with that, even if it’s just a stroll around the block or stretching your legs for a few minutes.

It can give you a bit of peace:

Getting off the computer (or at least closing your work tabs) gives your brain a chance to have a break and, nine times out of ten, you’ll feel refreshed afterwards.

This is especially useful when you’ve got to tackle an important task or something that needs a fresh set of eyes.

I love taking a bit of time to catch up on my Twitter feed or see what other awesome creators are posting on Bloglovin! Bringing in a book to read or watching an episode of a TV series is also a great option.

It gives you a chance to get things done:

Have you been waiting all week to send an important email or buy event tickets? This is your chance.

I work over an hour away from home so my evenings are pretty limited but having a break during the day gives me a chance to feel like I’m not working 24/7.

Taking the time to tick one important thing off your list is incredibly satisfying.

It can help lower you stress levels:

If your poor brain is constantly working overtime, it’s not going to be functioning at its best.

Stress and anxiety build up over time and can cloud your thinking processes. At the very least, you feel like crap.

Making a habit out of taking a while each day to focus on doing something that makes you happy is a great step to take towards improving your mental health.

To be fair, there are some days where taking a chunk of time away from work in the middle of the day isn’t possible, but making the effort most days can be incredible.

Take some time out – you deserve it!

 

Do you take a lunch break? Or do you wish you did?