How To: Celebrate Australia Day

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We are jetlagged and happy to be back home from an incredible three weeks spent in Europe.  Before we give you some European inspiration, we need to get straight to the point…

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26th January, Australia Day, is our favourite day of the year.  It is BIG in Australia, a much bigger celebration than New Year’s Eve.  Why?  Because we love our country.  Sun, surf, sand, and hardworking, laid-back, friendly people with great attitudes and lots of smiles……What’s not to love?  And our country is so beautiful it takes your breath away…  So much diversity, so big.

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So, how to celebrate Australia Day?  Here are some of the things that we do to celebrate:

  • Have an Australia Day party with mates and family.  It can go all day, starting all in the morning and finishing early the next morning.  That is no worries.  Make sure that there is plenty of food and drinks for everyone.
  • Drink Beer.  Australian beers are great to try.  On this day it’s ok to drink a little more than you would otherwise because… it’s what we do.
  • Remember the original owners of this land.  Remembering Aboriginals as the original owners of this land is important to us, recognising that they looked after this land for many tens of thousands of years before we arrived — just over 200 years ago.
  • Have a barbie in the backyard with all your mates.  This is what we all do.  But please don’t put shrimps on the barbie.  We call them prawns….. and we don’t cook them on the barbie.  We cook lamb (Australia is full of sheep) and sausages.  A typical Aussie barbie goes for hours and everyone brings their own meat and a salad to share.  The men cook the meat and the women fuss over the salads and bread.  When it’s time to eat, all the salads are put onto  a table and the meat is piled up on a platter, and everyone fills their plates.  There is a lot of food as there would be nothing worse than not having enough.  I’m not sure why, but at an Aussie barbie, usually the women and men socialise separately.  Probably because the men talk about the cricket and footy while the women talk about other things.  When I’ve taken people from overseas to Aussie barbies they usually find this really weird, but to us it’s so normal that we barely notice it.  Beers are a must at an Aussie barbie.  Men stand around the barbie drinking.  Women might drink wine instead of beer.  But the beer never runs out.

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  • Go for a swim at the beach.  We all do.  The weather over here has been as hot as hell (we were lucky to have missed 47 degrees celcius in Perth by being in London).  Because we have so much sun and a massive hole over the Ozone layer, we go for a swim and a boogey board in the early morning for an hour or so and then again in the evening.  Australians (particularly those on the West Coast) don’t go to the beach for the whole day.  It’s too hot and you just get burnt and dehydrated.  While you’re at the beach.  Don’t forget to make a sandcastle.
  • Eat lamingtons.  Lamingtons are gorgeous little squares of vanilla sponge cake, dipped in chocolate and coated in coconut flakes.  We grew up on lamingtons, our grandmas had a plate of them waiting for us when we visited.  They are delicious and melt in your mouth.  Usually it is so hot that the chocolate melts all over your fingers making a big mess.  Yes, they are a must for Australia Day.
  • Eat pavlova.  Pavlova is a meringue pie, covered with cream and usually topped with fruit.  Once again this is a very sweet and sugary dessert.  It is so good.   We often put strawberries on top because the tartness of the berries counteracts the sickly sweetness of the meringue and it is delicious.  We eat pavlova at a lot of our celebrations and the person who makes the pav is pretty popular with everyone.
  • Listen to Australian music.  Some radio stations play 24 hours of the best Aussie music of all time.  We listen iconic musicians like Jimmy Barnes, Cold Chisel, INXS, Crowded House and even Kylie.

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  • Watch fireworks.   In Perth we have a huge fireworks display over the Swan River, and a few hundred thousand people line up along the river to watch them as the sun goes down.  It’s spectacular.  We bring picnics, drinks.  We tend to go together in big groups and make a whole day of it.  You will find people setting themselves up on the banks of the Swan River from the early morning until late at night.  Many people bring cricket bats and have a game of cricket with their mates.  We bring big eskies full of food and drinks, sunscreen, blankets to sit on and fold up chairs.  In Perth, many people now catch the train to the event or even ride bikes.  It’s one very hot day so if you are going remember to wear a hat, sunscreen up like nothing else and drink water, then some more.

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Have a wonderful Australia Day! If you are not in Australia, feel free to celebrate still. If you have Aussie friends, they are sure to be homesick on this day. Why not take them beers, mates and have a barbie, while listening to loud music and getting rowdy? Enjoy! We will be back with more European inspiration in the next few days.

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How To: Have Blonde Hair (Naturally)

541475_10151535615634859_545964310_n My hair has gone from being white blonde as a child and teen to darker blonde as an adult, to blonde with highlights, with a frightening black and brunette phase in between, that marked the troubling end of a relationship.
There’s no way around it.  Blonde is a high maintenance hair colour and can easily end up looking awful.  Highlighting your hair blonde is difficult to maintain and can be expensive. The way I stay blonder has changed over the last six months, since I no longer use chemicals or visit the hairdresser to have my hair chemically treated. I now have my hair cut at home by and colour it myself.
Note:  If you have dark brown or black hair, I do not recommend these tips as they may not work or may produce a terrible result. This post is really for people with dark to medium blonde hair who are just highlighting their hair, not dramatically changing its colour.

995484_10151811099959859_542730047_nTechniques to Lighten Hair Naturally

1. Mix 2 tablespoons of raw honey (which contains natural peroxide) with 2 tablespoons of Bicarbonate soda. Apply the paste to the roots of your hair first with a brush then down to the ends. Heat helps to activate the Hydrogen Peroxide, so use a blow dryer on your hair on low for about ten minutes. It can get sticky but there are no chemicals which is a serious plus. After 20 – 30 minutes, rinse hair and wash as normal. This is also a powerful conditioner and your hair will glow and be really soft. (I do this once a fortnight, especially on my roots).
2. For a more honey blonde look, follow the method in No. 1 but also mix in 1 tablespoon of cinnamon which also has powerful hair lightening properties.
3. Mix 2 tablespoons of Hydrogen Peroxide (6%) (available at your pharmacy) with a cup of water. Place the liquid into a spray bottle and spray it on your hair every few days, making sure that you do the roots first and avoid the ends. This lightens the hair gradually and tends to keep natural highlights which look great. It does have a tendency to dry out the hair so if you are prone to dry hair use it once a week only. Once again, it needs to be activated with heat so hang out in the sun or put a hairdryer on your hair for about ten minutes.
4. Juice 2 lemons and pour into a spray bottle with with a teaspoon of bicarb soda, ¼ cup water and add a vitamin E capsule (or ½ teaspoon of Vitamin E) to condition the hair. Spray onto the hair and spend time out in the sun or ten minutes with a hairdryer. If you are going to the beach and hoping to go lighter, put this in your hair before you go. Remember to condition the hair when you are finished.
5. The easiest way to go blonde is to spend a lot of time at the beach in summer. The sun and sea water act to form a powerful bleaching agent. Where we live, even those with darker hair, tend to have sunkissed highlights in summer. But this does dry out your hair and conditioning is necessary.

Techniques to Maintain your Blonde (Naturally)

Now you are blonder, this colour also requires maintenance so that it doesn’t go brassy, bright yellow or even green.

  1. Leave-In Blonde Rinse for your hair.  Boil the kettle, place three chamomile tea bags into a mug with the boiling water.  Wait for the water to cool.  Place into a spray bottle and spray on the hair after washing and conditioning it.  Don’t rinse this off.  The effects are very subtle once again.
  2. Use a homemade purple shampoo and conditioner.  Place about a teaspoon of purple food colouring for every cup of shampoo (natural and organic of course).  The shampoo will be bright purple.  Shampoo your hair as normal with your purple shampoo, but leave the shampoo on for about 3 minutes (or longer).  This is an excellent way to tone down brassiness.  I use this every time I shampoo.  You can also add purple food colouring to your conditioner and use in the same way.  Please exercise caution with this and do a strand test before you use it.  I would not want your hair to turn purple.  My hair is very porous and it has never happened to me.
  3. If you spend a lot of time in Chlorinated pools (yuck I can’t stand them), your blonde hair will tend to go green.  Mum spent a lot of time with three very blonde children (and one brunette), trying to keep our hair from going fluro green.  The best remedy is tomato ketchup.  Cover the hair, particularly the ends in tomato ketchup and leave in for twenty minutes, then wash the hair as normal.  The red counteracts the green and leaves the hair blonde again.
  4. Place a shower filter on your shower head.  I love my shower filter which filters out the Chlorine and makes sure that my hair stays blonder.  (Note: I am also highly allergic to Chlorine which is why I have the shower filter).

27121_10151571341199859_1356352631_nHow to Keep Blonde Hair Conditioned

Besides being a difficult colour to maintain, blonde hair tends to be dry. Maybe because people who are blonde tend to be fair skinned and have fair eyes and dry skin, dry hair. Blonde hair needs to receive a lot of conditioning to stay in good condition. Here are some of my favourite ways to condition my blonde hair.
1. Raw Honey Mask. As Mentioned, this also lightens the hair. Cover the hair in raw honey, place a towel in the dryer for a few minutes until it is warm and then wrap your hair in the towel and leave for half an hour. Wash the honey out, your hair will smell, feel and look beautiful.
2. Coconut Oil. I love coconut oil and have been using it on my dry hair and skin for about six years. It is amazing and is used frequently by women all over India to keep their hair in perfect condition. Cover your hair in coconut oil and wrap in a warm towel for half an hour before you wash it. Also before you go to the beach, lightly coat your locks in coconut oil. It has some sunscreen properties so will protect your hair from the sun and will keep it moisturised.
3. Olive Oil. Olive oil is great when your hair is seriously dry as in summertime. Comb a light covering of olive oil over your hair and sleep with it in. You will need to cover your pillow with a towel to protect. Or cover your hair in olive oil half an hour before you wash it. It is great for tangles in really long hair.
4. Have the ends cut regularly. About every six weeks have your hair trimmed. This will keep the ends fresh so they don’t break off.
5. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar. After washing and conditioning your hair, rinse your hair in raw apple cider vinegar and water. The ratio is 1:1. Leave it in for a minute and then rinse it off. This leaves your hair soft and incredibly conditioned.

I hope these Blonde Tips have been helpful. If you like this Pin or Tweet it. And return to One Hour Craft for more natural haircare and beauty tips. If you have anything to add, please comment on our Facebook page.

How To: Build a Simple Sandcastle

sc16sc19Summer is nearly here.  While we hear about freezing weather in Paris, our weather is beachy and already hot.  A good friend of mine said that “being happy is to be in love with what you already have”.  And we are.  Not a day goes by when friends and family don’t comment on how lucky we are to live by the Indian Ocean in all its windy glory, white sands and crashing waves.

We spend a lot of our lives at the beach, we listen to the waves pounding as we fall asleep at night, we visit at least once a day for a swim or a walk.  My daughter’s first dip in the ocean was as a five week old baby, held close to my chest.  I was approached by an English lady who basically asked me ‘what the hell are you doing?’ and I just said, ‘that’s what we do’.  Our children grow up as water babies,learning to swim as babies, going to the surf club on a Sunday morning, boogey boarding, surfing.

Building sandcastles is a favourite pastime and an activity often done on our afterschool beach visits.  So here’s a first for this blog.  You will learn how to build a very simple sandcastle, Aussie in flavour.  Clearly, it’s not a very serious craft, but will give your more insight into our lives in Western Australia.

Materials

The Ocean

White beach sand

Shells, stick and sunshine

Method

1. Clear a patch of sand close to the shoreline.  Make it close enough so that the biggest waves will fill the moat.  Use the moist sand to build your castle, it clumps together well.

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2.  Clump the sand together into a round mound on top of your foundation.  Pat it down as you go to compact it together.

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3. Continue to pile up the sand and pat it down as you go, making the mound grow bigger and bigger. Make sure that the base becomes bigger and not just the sides so that it doesn’t topple.

sc54.  When your mound becomes large enough on the base, begin to scoop out a moat around it.  The sand you scoop out should be piled onto the mound to make it taller.  Continue to pat it as you go.

sc6sc7sc95. When your castle is complete, dig out a chanel that joins to the moat and travels to the ocean.  This will then fill your moat with water.

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6. Decorate your castle with shells, seaweed and sticks.

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Now you have finished, kick back on the sand and watch while the ocean fills the moat.

Wishing you sunny days, white sands, gorgeous waves to ride into the shore and many hours of sandcastle building.  If you like this, Pin It and if you like us Like Us on Facebook.  Stay tuned for more Australian posts in the future.

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