Monday, 27 June 2016

Lite n' Easy Review

Realising that I'd put on 5 kgs of weight recently after I stopped attending the gym due to an ongoing knee injury I knew I had to change the way I was eating. 

Weight maintenance and weight loss is really a basic equation involving energy in and energy out BUT my experience is that it's a really hard thing to do yourself without assistance!

Thus when the opportunity arose to trial two weeks of Lite n' Easy breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners I jumped to accept this as fast as my knee would allow - lol!

About Lite n' Easy 
Lite n' Easy meals are designed by chefs and dietitians, and are based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines so you know you are receiving the nutritional requirements you need. 

Lite n' Easy is extremely flexible to fit in with your requirements and lifestyle. You can choose from 5 day or 7 day plans, of 1200, 1500 or 1800 calories. You can choose to order 
  • breakfasts, lunches and dinners
  • breakfast and lunches only
  • breakfasts and dinners only
  • lunches and dinners only
  • dinners only
  • or other convenient options too.
Lite n' Easy does all the hard work for you. They plan the meals taking the season into account, calculate calories, shop for the ingredients, prepare and cook the meals, and then deliver your chosen meals to you. Think of all the time this saves you!

All you have to do is choose and order your fully prepared meals and then enjoy them!

How Are the Meals Delivered?
Lite n' Easy deliver their meals to you once a week. The day of delivery depends on where you live.

The food arrived at my front door well packed and sealed, kept cool in a foam esky packed with dry ice. I didn't have to be home to accept the delivery - yay! 

Inside the esky the delivery is divided into well labelled plastic bags. Breakfasts, lunches and dinners are in separate bags. Furthermore items to be refrigerated are in separate bags to items needing to be frozen. Each day's food is clearly labeled.

The labeled packaging makes this system very easy to follow. 

Lite n' Easy Delivery and Packaging

How Much Fridge and Freezer Space Did I Need?
I ordered the 7 day breakfasts, lunches and dinners. The fridge space required was one shelf in our relatively small fridge plus a bit less freezer space. 


Lite n' Easy Food. Photos from top left going clockwise:
1. All the breakfasts requiring refrigeration
2. All the lunches requiring refrigeration
3. The one fridge shelf these items take up
4. All the frozen dinners.


Not pictured were the breakfast and lunch items needing to be frozen.

Breakfasts
Each day there was a choice of two breakfast options. Included over the period of a week there was the choice of four cooked breakfasts.

Because I start work at 7am three days a week, on those days I made sure I chose the cereal, toast and fruit option Lite n' Easy breakfast so I could prepare it at work with minimum fuss and without having to cook anything more than toast. I have however seen some of my colleagues at work cooking Lite n' Easy eggs and bacon in the microwave.

The following breakfast is a typical Lite n' Easy non cook breakfast: Honey Muesli Flakes with Skim Milk. Two slices of Wholegrain & Oat Toast with Butter and Plum Jam. A Peach Cup. The only food you need to provide yourself is skim milk for the cereal.


Typical Lite n' Easy Non Cook Breakfast (Still Packaged).

Typical Lite n' Easy Non Cook Breakfast

When you do need to cook a breakfast yourself Lite n' Easy provide a recipe card for you to follow and the steps are extremely easy like the fresh omelette breakfast pictured below.


Fresh Omelette (Two Eggs, Ham & Tomato Mix and Cheese)
with Ciabatta Toast and Butter. Pear Cup

Some hot breakfasts that just need reheating in the microwave such as the one below are also available. This was the best winter morning breakfast last week!

Fruit & Bran Cereal With Skim Milk.
Savoury Mince with Smashed Peas & Tomato
on Soy & Linseed Toast. Orange.

Lunches
Similar to the breakfast menu, the Lite n' Easy lunch menu changes seasonally too. 

There is a choice of two lunch meals for each day. Lunch items may include a combination of both fresh (refrigerated) and frozen items.

To give you an idea of typical Lite n' Easy lunches, I've photographed two of my favourite Lite n' Easy lunches from my two week trial.

Firstly, I've included the still packaged lunch of sliced chicken breast, salad and cranberry sauce sandwich on rye bread with a red apple and peanuts, almonds and cashews. YUM!!!

The packaging of all the items is secure and keeps everything fresh. It is easy to open. Everything in this photo was refrigerated except for the bread which was frozen.

Lite n' Easy Lunch (Still Packaged)

Following is the same lunch plated up. This lunch, like all the lunches was easy to assemble and there was a choice of whether to plate up the chicken breast chilled or heated in the microwave.  

Lite n' Easy Lunch Plated Up

Secondly is another favourite Lite n'Easy lunch of mine consisting of sliced roast chicken breast with tomato and guacamole in a wrap, with a kiwifruit, vanilla yoghurt, almonds, pretzels and peanuts.

Lite n' Easy Lunch (Still Packaged)

There were also a couple of hot lunch options each week too, including a delicious winter warming pumpkin soup with two slices of oat & rye toast with a peach and pear cup and also a snack. Another hot option was a beef & broccolini stir fry with a fruit salad cup and snacks.

Dinners
There are over 45 dinners to choose from including pasta, seafood, modern Australian, traditional favourite and world classic dishes.

All dinners arrive frozen and can be either microwaved in approximately 8 minutes or cooked in a conventional oven.

Pictured below are the seven dinners I chose for my first week's trial of Lite n' Easy.

Lite n' Easy Dinners

I was really pleasantly surprised by the quality of the dinners.

Having previously tried the calorie controlled frozen meals available in supermarkets I was expecting a similar quality meal to those, but Lite n' Easy meals are definitely a big step up from those ones.

The pieces of meat, chicken and seafood are generous and tender, the vegies taste fresh and the meals are genuinely delicious! The rest of my family thought they were missing out big time when they saw what I was eating compared to our routine food they were eating!  

The picture you see on the front of the Lite n' Easy dinner boxes is exactly what you receive! 


Lite n' Easy Chargrilled Steak with Pepper Sauce

Lite n' Easy Chargrilled Steak with Pepper Sauce

Lite n' Easy Honey Soy Chicken

Lite n' Easy Honey Soy Chicken

My favourite dinner over the two week trial was the Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks. My iPhone photo doesn't really do justice to this meal but the meat was absolutely, melt in your mouth delicious!


Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks

Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks

Would I recommend Lite n' Easy?
The answer to this is a definite YES!

During the two week trial I lost a kg a week with no effort on my part. I felt satisfied and fulfilled by the food and was never hungry. 

The meals were delicious!

The meals were convenient!

They saved me time, not having to plan, shop, count calories or prepare any of the meals myself.

Knowing the meals were nutritionally balanced, healthy and within Australian Dietary Guidelines was reassuring. 

I also found Lite n' Easy educational, seeing what quantities, portions and variety of food I should be eating.

Not only would I recommend Lite n' Easy to others but I have decided to continue ordering Lite n' Easy meals for myself for at least the next month, and now pay for these meals myself.

This to me is the true indication of a blogger's endorsement of a product they have trialed, if after the conclusion of the trial, they liked and benefited from the product so much that they decide to continue using the product and purchase it for themselves. 

If you are interested in finding out more about the Lite n' Easy meal program or if you want to try it for yourself, click on this link to www.liteneasy.com.au.

Have You Ever Tried Lite n' Easy Meals?

xxx
Ingrid.

You can also find Fabulous and Fun Life on:

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Two weeks of Lite n' Easy meals were supplied to me in exchange for a review of them. 
All opinions are my own. Full disclosure policy here.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Monday Makeup Madness 61 Link Up Party

Welcome to the Monday Makeup Madness 61 Link Up Party!

All bloggers are welcome to join in and link up one makeup or beauty related post each. All non-bloggers are also most welcome to join the party and enjoy reading the fabulous range of beauty blogs written by the many lovely beauty bloggers that link up here each week.


Monday Makeup Madness 61 Link Up Party


The aim of the Monday Makeup Madness link up party is to share some beauty blogger love, strengthen our beauty blogger community and help all our blogs be seen by new readers. 

At last week's link up party we had 17 bloggers link up a beauty related post each. The three most viewed posts, plus my pick of the posts, included the following:

Four Popular Posts From The
Monday Makeup Madness 60 Link Up Party 


  • Kats Colourings linked review of the Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolours was popular and no wonder! The Revlon lip colours look sensational and Kat always has amazing swatch photos!
  • We were all interested to read about The Life Of Laura's tips for in-flight beauty essentials. Hydration and sleep are definitely key. 
  • Marisa Robinson's blog confirmed that we should be believing the hype about Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara. It's always reassuring when a trusted source gives a recommendation like this. I'm now super keen to try this mascara.
  • We also all enjoyed reading Health and Beauty Girl's post about her favourite budget makeup products. Once again it's reassuring buying these products based on a trusted recommendation as opposed to just taking pot luck as to whether these products are any good or not.
I'd love you to join this week's Monday Makeup Madness link up party and if your post is one of the three most clicked upon I'll feature it in next week's link up post. I'll also pick one other linked post to feature. The rules of the link up are simple: 

  • Link up one makeup or beauty related post a week only. 
  • Include a link back to Fabulous and Fun Life in your post. 
  • Visit and comment on three or more linked posts. Remember the more you comment on other beauty bloggers' posts the more likely they will be to return the love by visiting and commenting on your blog.
  • This link up starts early each Monday morning (Sydney time) and will remain open until late Wednesday evening.
Visit Fabulous and Fun Life's profile on Pinterest.

If you would like to pin your linked posts to the Monday Makeup Madness Pinterest group board follow Fabulous Fun Life on Pinterest (this is a Pinterest requirement not mine) and then I can invite you to join this board as a co-pinner. 


All bloggers who participate in the Monday Makeup Madness link up party are welcome to become co-pinners of this group board. It's another great way to get your posts seen and read by new readers.


Finally, please share the link to this Monday Makeup Madness link up party on your blogs & social media to help get the word out among more beauty bloggers, inviting them to join in & share some beauty blogger love with us! We will all benefit from more link up party participants and readers. 

Let the Link Up Party Fun Begin! 

xxx
Ingrid

You can also find me on Instagram:

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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

My Boutiques Curves Olivia Dress in 'French Navy'


You can always tell when I love the cut and style of a dress, I usually buy it in more than one fabric design! Fabric designs I love I also choose in more than one style! Please tell me I'm not the only one that does this!!! 

Such was the case with the My Boutique Curves Olivia Dress. Admittedly, due to my good luck in being selected as a My Boutique Curves Brand Rep, I was blessed to be gifted four items of my choice from their 'Hello Sailor' Autumn/Winter collection. 

Even so, I could have chosen four completely different styles of clothing, in four completely different fabric designs, but I loved the Olivia Dress design so much I chose two versions of this dress among my four choices. I also loved the 'French Navy' fabric so much I chose two items made with this same fabric. I find navy to be such a flattering shade, and less harsh than black. 

My Boutique Curves is an Australian fashion label created by Danielle Faulkner to fill the gap in the market for stylish and affordable clothing for the curvier woman. My Boutique Curves stocks sizes 16 to 24 whilst its sister company My Boutique stocks sizes 8 to 14.

The features of the Olivia dress that are perfect for us curvy girls include the longer sleeves to cover our upper arms, the loose fit, so you don't have to worry when ordering this dress online whether it's going to fit you or not when you receive it and the high/low hem line. This hem line covers everything that needs to be covered at the back and at the front it stylishly shows a bit more leg. And I must let you know that this dress 'swishes' beautifully as you walk!

My Boutique Curves Olivia Dress in French Navy

The Olivia Dress is completely versatile covering all occasions from casual to office to evening.

I wore this dress to my corporate office by styling it with a black belt, jacket and work shoes. I love the illusion of faking a slimmer waist by adding a belt.




To then wear this dress out in the evening for a special dinner I simply changed into dressier shoes, kept the same belt, added a stylish and warm wrap (not in photo) and an evening clutch.



You can also change this look again by adding a tan coloured belt.





I bought both of the above belts from City Chic on sale. Click HERE iconto go to the City Chic accessories sale page. They may not have the exact same belts anymore but I always find a belt (or two or three) I want from there! They also currently have some awesome shoes and statement necklaces at a bargain price! 

Here's some more City Chic belts including those not on sale.

If you are interested in seeing some of the other My Boutique Curves items I chose to be gifted, here are the links to my previous blog posts about the My Boutique Curves Olivia Dress in 'So Frenchy' and the My Boutique Curves Riviera Kimono Jacket.

Do you buy more than one version of clothing items you love?

xxx
Ingrid.

You can also find Fabulous and Fun Life on:

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This Olivia Dress was kindly gifted to me by My Boutique Curves. 
All opinions are my own. Full disclosure policy here.



Monday, 20 June 2016

SHARE By Curtis Stone dining & Lotus Spa pampering onboard the Sun Princess

Princess Cruises' promise of Come Back New is so accurate! It is exactly how I felt after only one short day of being treated like royalty aboard the newly refurbished Sun Princess. I can only imagine how relaxed, refreshed, pampered and 'new' the passengers of a full cruise would feel!

I was so excited to recently be invited to an exclusive culinary immersion day aboard the Sun Princess with a handful of other bloggers to experience internationally acclaimed Aussie celebrity chef Curtis Stone's first local restaurant SHARE by Curtis Stone and also to experience first hand the state of the art pampering and relaxation facilities on board. Let me tell you right up front they were AMAZING!
 
The Sun Princess at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, Sydney

After boarding the Sun Princess mid morning our culinary experience started straight away as we were greeted with a tray of mouth watering master chocolatier Norman Love pastries.

It's definitely a good day when the hardest decision you need to make is which chocolate pastry to eat!

Norman Love Pastry Selection

My tastebuds were more than happy with my choice of the Raspberry Chocolate Pinwheel which I later discovered was the most popular pastry in the Norman Love range. As if it doesn't look good enough in the photo below, let me share with you that it contains melt in the mouth chocolate mousse hidden under those lush raspberries. This chocoholic was in chocolate heaven!

Norman Love Raspberry Pinwheel Pastry

The Sun Princess pastry chefs don't just make the above Norman Love chocolate pastries, they also frequently create new special cakes which they add to the menu such as this decadent banana and hazelnut cake that Chef Rocky proudly presented us with. If only Chef Rocky could relocate off the ship and into my kitchen!

Banana & Hazelnut Cake

After our indulgent morning tea it was time to have a tour of the Sun Princess. The Sun Princess is enormous! Back when she was launched in 1995 she was actually the world's biggest cruise ship.


Photo Credit: Sun Princess

Even today, together with her sister Princess ships, the Sun Princess remains the largest passenger ship to ever cruise under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  

So exactly how big is the Sun Princess you're probably wondering. Let me tell you. The Sun Princess is 261 metres long, 32 metres wide, has a height of 49 metres above the waterline and weighs 77,000 tonnes. That fits my definition of enormous!

Walking two laps of the Sun Princess' outdoor wraparound promenade deck, which takes you right around the ship, equals 1 km!

The Sun Princess contains 14 passenger decks with 975 staterooms and can carry 2010 passengers, in addition to her 924 crew.

The latest refurbishment of the Sun Princess occurred in April 2016 so she is looking the best she ever has! 

During this multi million dollar refurbishment the Sun Princess became the first Australian-based ship to offer the new Princess Luxury bed, designed in conjunction with US sleep experts and including a plush five centimetre thick mattress topper on top of a 23 centimetre mattress. Yes, I did have a test lie down and yes, I could have blissfully fallen asleep on it!

The Sun Princess also features 4 pools, 5 whirlpool spas, 2 main dining rooms each with their own galley, SHARE by Curtis Stone and 6 other eateries including a steakhouse, seafood bar and New Zealand Natural Ice Cream outlet, 2 main show lounges, 7 lounges/bars, a sanctuary retreat, a movies under the stars outdoor movie screen, duty free shops, deluxe health centre and spa, beauty salon, sports deck, sports court inside the funnel, business centre, photo shop, art gallery, youth centre, library, card room and casino! You can see what I meant when I said the Sun Princess is enormous!

Sun Princess Pool Deck

As everyone knows, eating is a huge part of cruising. I was fascinated to find out that every seven days, Sun Princess guests consume 40 tonnes of food and drink including 10,000 bottles of wine and champagne, 10,000 cans of soft drink, 2500 litres of milk, 2400 bottles of water, 25,000 eggs, 500kg of bacon, 1.4t of chicken, 500kg of lettuce, 1.3t of rice and 375kg of coffee!

That is a lot of food and drink!

After our tour of the ship we were lead to the on board Lotus Spa to experience first hand the state of the art pampering that occurs on the Sun Princess. The variety of treatments available is vast, with something to suit everyone. There is even a chocolate body scrub treatment available!

Sun Princess Lotus Spa Therapist Marianna 

I was lucky to be pampered with a mini facial using luxurious Elemis products by the lovely Marianna, followed by an arm and hand massage using amazingly scented chocolate oil! For the second time this day I was transported to chocolate heaven! I felt soooo unbelievably relaxed and blissed out afterwards. 

Luxurious Elemis Products Used In My Mini Facial

As if all the above were not amazing enough, the highlight of the day was awaiting me next - dining in the new SHARE by Curtis Stone restaurant on board. 

SHARE by Curtis Stone is the only local opportunity in Australia to taste Curtis Stone's restaurant cuisine.

As the name suggests, the SHARE menu and restaurant has been designed to encourage diners to connect with each other and share holiday memories over a delicious meal.

I love the concept of this restaurant, namely that you choose a variety of dishes from the menu and then share them with the others at your table. There is nothing better to bond over than shared, good quality food. This is how friendships and relationships are strengthened,and good memories are created!

SHARE By Curtis Stone Restaurant On Board the Sun Princess

Everything in SHARE, from the decor to the memorabilia to the music playlist, has been specifically selected by Curtis Stone.

I wish I was an expert food photographer or a food blogger with the foodie vocabulary to do justice to the amazing Curtis Stone cuisine I experienced in SHARE. Unfortunately I'm not, but let me still share (pun intended) some of my favourites that I sampled from the menu with you and please just imagine it being that much better than I photographed or put into words. It really was THAT good!

Firstly, here's a sample of some of the tasty goodies from the chatcuterie and cheese section of the menu including Hungarian salami, Bethmale cheese and olives. The attention to detail especially with the mustard seeds was astounding! My sweet tooth also loved the honey comb on this plate.

A selection of goodies from the 
Chatcuterie & Cheese section of the menu

The 17 ingredients of the shrimp with lemon gel, turnip, citrus salt and brioche dish, including three different types of radish all combined beautifully to create the most exquisite and refreshing taste.

Out of all the dishes I tasted this was my overall favourite. The wafer of brioche was so fine it literally melted on my tongue and the lemon gel left such a lovely taste in my mouth.


Shrimp with Lemon Gel, Turnip, Citrus Salt and Brioche.

This tomato with burrato, oregano and arugula dish had a lovely rich flavour.

Tomato with burrata, oregano and arugula.

This roasted crab legs dish with Tobanjan aioli and clarified  butter is reportedly Curtis Stone's favourite on the menu. Being a seafood lover myself I absolutely loved this dish too!


Roasted Crab Legs with Tobanjan Aioli and Clarified Butter

The beef cheek pie with porcini mushrooms was also amazing! The large pieces of beef in this pie were so tender and the gravy, which was poured into the pie at the table, elevated the dish to a completely new level!


Beef Cheek Pie with Porcini Mushrooms

The potato gratin with black winter truffle and cream was another delightful winter dish to share.

Potato Gratin with Black Winter Truffle and Cream

Turbot with Gruyere crumb and spinach. Once again this dish was melt in the mouth delicious! It had a really delicate flavour. I hadn't ever tasted turbot before. After some research I found out that it's a flatfish native to the waters of the North Atlantic, the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. 


Turbot with Gruyere Crumb and Spinach

Dessert was delicious! The Tarte Aux Citron with raspberry granola and meringue was the perfect way to finish off the meal. Or so I thought until ....

Tarte Aux Citron with Raspberry Granola and Meringue

.... the dessert piece de resistance, the best bread pudding I have ever tasted! 


Warm Bread Pudding with Currants and Toffee Sauce

I almost didn't taste this bread pudding thinking I was already full, and wanting the last taste in my mouth to be the amazing Citron Tart pictured above but boy, am I glad that I gave in to temptation and had some pudding as well!  It is seriously the best bread pudding ever! The rich toffee sauce poured over the pudding at the table is absolutely to die for! If you are lucky enough to be cruising on the Sun Princess you HAVE to taste this pudding!!!


Warm Bread Pudding With Rich Toffee Sauce 

Although I only experienced a day on the Sun Princess and looked on in envy as she set sail to Vanuatu that evening, one day was enough for me to 'Come Back New', feeling relaxed, refreshed, pampered, and yes, 'new'! Imagine how the passengers currently cruising on her will feel when they return!

Thank you so much to Princess Cruises and Fuel Communications for this amazing experience!

If you are wanting more information about Princess Cruises' Sun Princess click here.


Have You Ever Been On a Cruise?

Is a Cruise Your Ideal Type of Holiday?

xxx
Ingrid.

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I was a guest of Princess Cruises for this day on board the Sun Princess. 
All opinions are my own. Full disclosure policy here.