MyFoxyCorner has moved .. and you should too!

So after about a year of procrastinating, and with much help from Laura and Edd, I have finally got myfoxycorner ready to go on its own site, myfoxycorner.co.nz

I would love for all my readers to come on over to myfoxycorner.co.nz where things are going to get bigger and better (and I am going to have to demonstrate some fast learning skills). Please make sure you re-subscribe to the new site, and like my facebook page so you can stay up to date. See you there!

myfoxycorner.co.nz

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Taking that first step, starting out small

Starting out small my foxy corner

So it’s been a little while since I devoted some time to writing and posting and staying connected online. It was a needed break as I have been struggling lately, with my health, with my stress levels at work, with trying to live a somewhat balanced life.

One thing that I keep having to remind myself is that I am in control. When I let my health beat me down, its my own responsibility because of the way I haven’t been taking care of myself. When I let myself become overwhelmed by stress, its because I haven’t made my mental health a priority. When I fail at living a balanced life its because I haven’t put in the effort. It becomes so much easier to blame my issues on things outside of my control, but if I continue like that then it puts me in a position where I feel as though I don’t have the power to change my situation.

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Phew, so what I am trying to say is that I want to try and take more control over my everyday experience of life. Be more mindful of each moment, be more wary of commitments and making sure I have time for myself. Surrounding myself with those that bring happiness to my life and to some degree, trying to remove the negative influences in my life (be them internal or external). I feel like we could all do with a reminder like this sometimes, which is why I decided to ramble on about it here (sorrynotsorry).

My first area that I want to start focusing on and taking small steps to improve is my physical health. This has such a big impact on all the other realms of my life and I know from that one time many years ago where I somewhat successfully actually took care of my body, that this can make big changes in things like my mental health and overall wellbeing.

Making physical health a priority is one of those things that should never have slipped off my radar, if my body isn’t functioning properly how can I expect everything else to run smoothly. Getting sick frequently, being overweight, feeling unfit and sore are all things that are a constant battle for me and yet I haven’t put the effort in to improve the situation.

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The key for me is to start small and make sustainable choices so below are 5 (hopefully manageable) goals that I will be focusing on for improving health and fitness. Next time I check in i’ll give you guys an update on how I am going and what I have struggled with.

  1. Use that gym membership to get to the gym 3 times a week, even if its only for half an hour
  2. Start having a proper breakfast with a protein fuelled smoothie (and occasionally try and make it green)
  3. Develop a better sleep cycle and aim for at least 7 hours a night (put your damn phone out of reach!)
  4. Start utilising the stairs at work instead of making the elevator awkward by trying not to make eye or skin contact with anyone
  5. Be more mindful of what I am using to fuel my body (chocolate is one source of fuel but perhaps consider some other options as well)

My last leaving thought is something that has helped me in putting the effort to be healthier into perspective; instead of seeing things like eating healthy or exercising as a chore or an impossible task that inevitably ends with a wine of glass and far too much pizza, I am trying to see it as a reward to myself, keeping in the front of my mind the feeling of being healthier and fitter and ultimately happier. By trying to create positive associations, like how happy I feel after a good workout or how satisfied I am after putting effort into a delicious vegetarian meal, I find it easier to motivate myself to make the changes. Hopefully this helps me in being more successful in looking after myself, but i’ll let you know!

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Let me know if you have any small goals that help you focus on improving your health and wellbeing, I’d love any tips or advice on how to make health more of a priority.

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Not Your Average Brownie (Gluten-Free)

Hey Guys!

So just a quick post today featuring one of my favourite gluten-free recipes ever. I am a big fan of brownies and my ultra-rich recipe is one I turn to a lot but when I was doing my gluten free trial I tested out this recipe and found it to be equally as delicious and just as easy to make. Compared to the my usual brownies these aren’t quite so rich but still chocolatey with less cocoa, more chocolate and the addition of cranberries and caramel drops (which add a little bit of a black-forest spin to a simple brownie recipe). This recipe makes about 18 little muffins (which I think are kind of adorable) or you can make about 18 slices using a tin.

The recipe is taken mostly from a Julian Lelerc recipe for GF brownies (which I cannot find online and which I have a cut out article of which gets increasingly dirty and damaged each time I make these)  and really is incredibly easy whilst being wonderfully tasty and full of chocolate goodness.

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Ingredients:

  • 200g Butter cubed
  • 200g Dark cooking chocolate, chopped roughly
  • 1 1/2 Cups Brown Sugar
  • 4 Eggs, lightly beaten
  • I C Gluten-free flour (available at Supermarkets)
  • 2Tbsp Cocoa powder
  • Roughly 1/2 Cup of craisins and 1/2 Cup of Nestle Caramel Drops (but you could add/substitute with mini marshmallows, almonds, chocolate drops, or anything else that takes your fancy

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180.C and either line your muffin tin or baking tin with muffin cases/baking paper.
  2. Place butter and chocolate into a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Or if you are lazy like me just pop it directly in the saucepan over a very low heat/microwave with 30 second bursts with heaps of stirring in between. Melt until everything is smooth and combined (i.e. the chocolate is melted..)
  3. Sift in the flour and cocoa and stir into the chocolate mixture,
  4. Add in the extra ingredients and stir to combine.
  5. Pour into your chosen baking receptacle and bake for around 10-15 mins in the muffin tin (test after ten mins quite often with a skewer, or in my case a piece of spaghetti past (uncooked!) to test. These will be best if the skewer/pasta comes out almost clean, moist but not completely dry). If using a rectangle brownie tin bake for approx 45-50mins. Remove to cool then enjoy! Or if you can resist long enough sprinkle with icing sugar cause it looks pretty

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These are delicious and moist, rich but also complex with the taste of tart craisins/cranberries and delicious morsels of caramel. These also last really well if you store them in a airtight container. I am sure you could substiture the GF flour for normal flour but I have no idea if it turns out the same. I think the dense nature of GF baking really works for this recipe and creates the perfect little lunchbox treat for work, firm on the outside but deliciously chocolatey on the inside. Definitely give it a try, they are basically fool proof. The only real warning I have is to make sure you  don’t overcook them. These are 100x nicer when they are still a little under on the inside. This is harder to acheive in muffin form but with a little careful testing can still be done.

Give them a try and let me know what you think! Also if you have any other great ideas for additions please share below. I will making this many more times in the near future…

Lizzy Xx

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My Final Foxy Reading Corner 2013 #45-50!

Hey Guys!

So I am very happy to end the year with the completion of the 50 books for 2013 challenge (all tracked through one of my favourite websites of 2013, Goodreads!). I really enjoyed doing this challenge and it forced me to keep on top of my reading which sometimes I forget about and ignore for months on end. I’m not sure what kind of reading goal I will set for 2014, probably not a quantity based one purely because it meant I often ended up ignoring the longer books that I wanted to read (I’m looking at you Game of Thrones which I never got around to finishing 😦 ). So maybe a quality versus quantity take on reading for next year…let me know if you have any ideas!

Anyway, here are my final 5 books for 2013!

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45. Mindbend by Robin Cook

I’m pretty sure I have read this one before but it didn’t stop me from enjoying this 1985 medical thriller that was easy to get hooked into and fast paced. The plot revolves around abortions, suspicious medical cruises and a young, confused couple. A fun read as I expect with classic Cook. 4 Stars

46. Death Benefit by Robin Cook

I ended up reading two of these in a row however this more modern novel by Robin Cook I didn’t enjoy as much as the previous. The characters were interesting but it was more of a challenge to stay interested in the first third of the novel before it got to the mystery murders. The science side of these novels I love but the plot was a little slower than I like and made for a more average read. 3 Stars

47. Looking for Alaska by John Green

After reading Fault in our stars I knew I would both enjoy and hate reading another book by John Green. Enjoy its incredible story and characters that are well written and so incredibly believable but hate the tragedy that I knew was to be expected. This YA novel didn’t disappoint. Full of quotes that I just wanted to tattoo into my skin so I would never forget and relationships that were complex and beautiful I couldn’t help but love this book just like I loved Fault in our stars. 5 Stars

48. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Yet another incredible book to finish the year on. This novel focused on a n friendship that ended in tragic circumstances and the life of a young Afghan boy who grew up in a world of turmoil. At times this was hard to read due to the continuously awful events that just kept occurring but the masterful writing simultaneously made this impossible to put down. A powerful book and I look forward to reading more of Hosseini’s work. 5 Stars

49. The Dead of the Night by John Marsden

This is the second book in the Tomorrow series about an Australian invasion and a group of Kids trying to make a difference whilst surviving through the chaos. I definitely enjoyed the sequel and the character development it brought with it. A fast paced, easy read with a group of quite different characters in some pretty extraordinary circumstances. Very enjoyable just as I hope the rest of the series will be. 4 Stars

50. The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen

By now it’s obvious I enjoy Tess Gerritsen but somehow I had never read this book which was the first in the Maura and Isles series. A typically fast paced and gripping thriller that was a reliable and satisfying end to the challenge (albeit nothing ground breaking). 4 Stars

Well there we have it! To be honest at the end I wasn’t sure I would finish the challenge but it is nice to finally complete something (I am one of those people who never finish anything, apart from a good book). What were my favourite reads of the year? Wait for my Best of 2013 wrap up to find out!

Also if you want to follow me on Goodreads you can find me here! And don’t forget to like MyFoxyCorner’s Facebook page 🙂

Xx

Friday’s Letters: Dear Callie

Dear Callie

How do I put into words the sadness I have in my heart for losing you. How do I apologize enough for not being able to save you. How do I go from being a crazy cat lady to mourning the decision we had to make for you.

Everytime I think that life is going back to normal I see a reminder of your place in our household. A forgotten toy, a rogue cat treat that you were saving for later or just one of the many photos of you. Suddenly that feeling like I am choking on nothing returns and I feel like I will never move on.

I wish things had been different. I wish we had known what to expect. I wish we had had you in our lives for longer than the last two, short years.

Some people won’t understand what it is like to lose you but for me its like I have lost a member of my family, albeit a smaller, fluffier one than most. I won’t feel ashamed for missing you but I will be hopeful that eventually it will stop hurting so much.

I have so much to say but the words don’t come easy. I know you are better now and no longer in pain. I am glad that now we carry the pain instead whilst you move on. I am also glad I got to hold you for those last few moments of your short life.

Thank you. For inviting yourself into our lives. For sharing our meals even when we didn’t want to. For spending each night as part of our bedtime huddle and enjoying long weekend sleep ins. For taking up my instagram with endless photos of your gorgeous face. For being awake with me at night when I couldn’t sleep. For being the sassiest cat I knew and scaring away all the neighbors despite your tiny size. For being there for me when I felt alone or sad, even if you didn’t understand why I needed your cuddles. For annoying me when I chopped vegetables and then looking at me with disgust when I offered you some. For sticking your head in bags of Doritos. For watching cat videos on youtube and loving them almost as much as me. For sitting on my lap through endless hours of study and blogging even though there wasn’t much room under my desk. For being a part of lives that was so much bigger than I could have expected.

Thank you for reminding me to cherish each moment we have with our loved ones.

We won’t ever forget you

xx

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If you tame me, we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I will be unique

Tuesday’s Top Ten: Lush Lusts

Hi All, Happy Tuesday!

For this weeks Top Ten post I thought I would do a quick round up of the ten Lush products that I am currently lusting over (by which I mean each week I got into their store and investigate then leave wishing I could buy them all). I have recently gotten more interested in Lush and I think it is because my skin just doesn’t seem to react well to much any more and so natural products have become more appealing. I also love Lush as a brand that is cruelty free and vegan (and the ladies at the Queen

Street office are super nice too!). To be clear, not affiliated or sponsored anyway, as per usual. Just a little obsessed…

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1. Dream Cream: Top of my list and a product I plan to buy ASAP is this soothing body lotion for sensitive skin. A best selling product and after being given a sample last week I now understand why. Filled with good stuff like chamomile and lavender this smells good but feels even better. Not cheap which is why I put it off but a little goes a long way so I think it is probably well worth it. $37.90 for 240g

2. Dreamwash: Another product that I have a sample of and have already enjoyed briefly is this shower soap that is, once again, soothing and suitable for dry, red skin. Full of all my favourite things like chamomile, calamine, lavender, aloe vera and essential oils I am a big fan. A little bit expensive for a shower wash, at $28.90 for 250g  so not something I would straight away shell out for.

3. Rose Jam Shower Gel: Staying on the tune of shower products, this shower gel is a gorgeous new Christmas product, scented with rose and lemon. I originally was lusting after snow fairy but after comparing scents I much prefer this slightly more subtle rose scent and find snow fairy a little sickly. $22.50 for 100g, other sizes also available.

4. Santa’s Lip Scrub: I already love the lip scrubs and am currently using the Mint Julips one (which smells amazing) so naturally I was drawn to the limited edition Christmas lip scrub which tastes of cola. Although this is a relatively simple product, at $12.50 it isn’t too expensive and would make a great gift paired with the lip tint below…

5. Santa’s Baby Lip Tint: A red tinted lip balm that is perfect to use after a little scrub and provides a moisturizing red tint with the flavour of a cola. A great combo with the scrub above, and at $12.50 is a nice treat or gift.

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6.Aqua Marina: This is another sample of a popular cleanser that I have yet to try. A pink mousse wrapped with seaweed it is definitely unusual but contains calamine and aloe vera to make it suitable for sensitive and irritated skin, soothing and cleansing. Excited to try this. $18.90 per 100g.

7. Sexy Peel Soap: I love Honey I washed the Kids but this strong citrus scent still outranks it as my favourite soap at Lush. I haven’t bought any but can’t wait to try it properly as the scents of lemon, grapefruit and lime are perfect for waking up to face the day. Yum. $7.49/100g

8. Angel’s Delight Soap: On the tangent of soaps, my favourite new soap is this sweet, colourful one. With cents of tangerines and gardenias the result is a sweet, floral and citrus scent. But mainly I just want it cause its pretty. $7.50/100g

9. Lemony Flutter: I don’t why I don’t own this product yet. This is a popular thick cream that is mainly used for softening cuticles but can be used basically anywhere dry. I love nail creams and seeing as this one is citrus scented (notice a pattern) I am a big fan of this one. At $19.90 for 50g it may seem experience but I know a little goes a long way (I always sample this when I pop into the stores).

10. Vanillary Solid Perfume: Ending with something quite different, I have been umming and ahhing over the Lush perfumes as I do tend to react a little to normal perfume and the idea of something organic and natural is very appealing. This little solid perfume is scented of, you guessed it, vanilla as well as jasmine. The end scent is a warm and grown up vanilla perfume, perfect for winter (but not so much for the season we are just entering). At $10.90 for 12g its not a huge commitment and so may be worth a try for those who like vanilla/burnt caramel scents, as I do.

Whew, I would happily go broke to own all ten of these (edd may not so much). What are the Lush products you lust over?

Xx

My Foxy Reading Corner: #25-32

Hi All!

Having a sick day off work today to try and recover from this combo cold/migraine situation so lets pray one day of rest is enough. Not that I don’t enjoy the chance to sit at home and drink tea all day. I would read if my eyes would stop watering for no reason haha. Anyway, who is ready for another installment? I am currently two books behind in my challenge…but I have faith I can make that up..hopefully.

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#25 Poison Study (Study #1) by Maria V Snyder: So this is a random book I picked up which is the first in a YA series around a young girl who is due to be executed but instead is offered the option of being a poison taster for the Commander. I enjoyed the read but it wasn’t anything particularly special. I enjoyed the characters and their relationships but overall it was an average book and I doubt I will read the other books in the Study series. 3 Stars

#26 The New World (Chaos Walking #0.5) by Patrick Ness: So this probably shoudn’t count seeing as it was very short and just functioned as an introduction into the world and characters from the Chaos Walking series. However seeing as I am currently 2 books behind in my 50 book challenge I’m gonna go ahead and count it anyway…so sue me. This prequel introduces one of the two core characters of the series and was a nice short intro into Viola’s story. 3 Stars

#27 The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1) by Patrick Ness: This was the first book in the Chaos Walking trilogy, I can’t remember where I first heard of the series but I went into it knowing basically nothing about the stories (apart from what the prequel revealed). The main character Todd is likable in naive kind of way and as the reader you really feel for him in the confusion of his story. This YA series is set on a planet where men’s thoughts are not able to be hidden. Todd then finds a female (of which there are none left in his town) and together they embark on a pretty intense task. There was only part of this series I DID NOT ENJOY. I won’t say too much but it made me want to bawl my eyes out. Be warned. 4 Stars

#28 City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare: With the movie having come out here recently for the first in The Mortal Instruments series I thought I should venture into this fantasy YA series that seems to be so popular. It was ok…I have to admit I was a little disappointed. I don’t have a lot to say, it was a fine read, the characters were at times a little annoying. I may push through and try read some more in the series if I get my hands on them. We shall see. 3 (generous) stars

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#29 The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell: I loved Sex and the City but have never read any books by Candace Bushnell so when I got my hands on the first story about Carrie when she was at a small town high school I gave it a go. I really enjoyed this light hearted read. The characters were at times annoying/frustrating but in a way that was reflective of what people were like at highschool. Carrie was true to form, fabulous and unique. The story was surprising and moving and funny. Candace’s writing was easy to read and I would love to read some more books by her! 4 Stars

#30 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time by Mark Haddon: Okay, so I have already read this book ages ago but couldn’t resist picking it up again. The story of a young high functioning autistic individual who sets about to solve a neighborhood animal murder is a gem of a book. Mark Haddon captures the young Christopher’s narration and thoughts in a truly unique and captivating way. Trying to keep up with an autistic mind’s tangents and points of view was overwhelming at times but in a truthful and realistic way. A book I would recommend to anyone and everyone. 5 Stars

#31 The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking #2) by Patrick Ness: I couldn’t wait long before reading the next book in the Chaos Walking series, especially because the first book left us in quite a cliff hanger of a situation. This book was narrated by both Todd and Viola in alternative chapters which offered up an insight into both sides of a tense and stressful situation. The story was again emotional and moving at times and action packed at others. The characters just continue to improve and develop and I enjoyed the writing style in this even better than in the first book. 4 Stars

#32 I Am Legend by Richard Matheson: I LOVED the movie with Will Smith however I knew going into reading this book it was very different to the movie. Robert Neville is our main character and the last “living” man on Earth so hasn’t succumbed to a bacterial infection that turned human race into a vampire-like species. Most of the book is devoted to the monotonyo of his daily survival (but it doesn’t come across as boring, just depressing). Towards the end he meets another character and the already depressing story takes a turn for the worse, The story ends in a thought-provoking manner. All in all I didn’t enjoy reading the story cause it was depressing as hell but I still think its an amazingly written story that is at the top of my read list. 5 Stars.

Done! Only 28 books to go. Any recommendations please share 🙂 And don’t forget to follow me on Goodreads

Liz xx