Alyssa Batticciotto


The top five teas you should be drinking this spring.

Tea. It’s been around for centuries. It’s been used for medicinal purposes, beauty products and has even become a euphemism for gossip, but what is all the rage?

Tea has been essential to so many cultures around the world. There have been proven health benefits between the properties of tea and their effect on our immune systems, mood and health that have been around for centuries.

“When we sip tea, we are on our way to serenity,” says lifestyle philosopher, Alexandra Stoddard.

Green Tea

Research has shown that green tea is one of the healthiest drinks going around.

Green tea is made with unoxidized tea leaves which contain flavonoids – a group of plant-based chemicals that have been shown to reduce coronary inflammation.

Here are some of the major health benefits associated with daily consumption of green tea:

  • Contains healthy bioactive compounds – The nutrients found in green tea have been linked to treating various disease including some cancers, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and may help prevent type two diabetes.
  • Boosts metabolic rate which increases fat burn.
  • May improve brain function – Green tea contains caffeine which is a stimulant that increases brain activity including mood, memory, vigilance and reaction time.

In a season where immunity is still compromised, the antiviral properties of green tea are a natural way to help fight off colds this spring.

Peppermint Tea

With its minty properties, peppermint tea has been used for its taste and medicinal properties for hundreds of years.

Some reasons to incorporate peppermint tea this spring are:

  • Can reduce headaches – A 2016 study into peppermint oil found that there was a link between the cooling nature of the substance and the easing of migraines.
  • Breathing in the vapours of hot, peppermint tea can reduce nasal congestion. This is particularly useful in combatting winter colds.
  • Peppermint tea can aid in digestion relief for those suffering with upset bowels.
  • Peppermint capsules may help fight bacterial infections while tea several types of mouth bacteria.

Chamomile Tea

This flowery tea has a relaxing essence that soothes the senses. Chilly nights can be warmed with this fragrant tea that the whole family will enjoy.

People incorporate this tea into their diet for a variety of health benefits as seen below:

  • Proven to help irritable bowel syndrome symptoms and can be a fantastic preventative measure for harmful bacteria.
  • Can help with sleeping as it relaxes the nerves, according to Dietician Anshul Jaibharat.
  • In a study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Chemistry, it found that chamomile can help reduce muscle spasms and period pain by decreasing the production of prostaglandins.

Ginger Tea

Despite its infamous, polarising reputation, ginger tea is one of the best teas to help with unsettled stomachs. Its light spice soothes and relaxes stomachs.

  • Can reduce nausea and morning sickness in expectant mothers through acceleration of the gastric processes.
  • Ginger tea can help alleviate issues surrounding the heart all the way from relieving heartburn to helping to protect against heart disease.
  • May help to alleviate pain from inflammation and sore muscles. 

Lavender Tea

The refreshing scent of lavender perfectly transitions to the calming brew of lavender tea. Here are the main reasons lavender tea is a winner:

  • May help boost sleep – enjoying a cup before bed can help you to unwind.
  • Can help improve skin health.

Aussies mums are redefining the term ‘influencer’ and inspiring their audience through fashion, humility and organic content, writes Alyssa Batticciotto.

“I’m just a normal person. I’m not a celebrity, I’m not on TV, I’m just a mum who likes to post online and sometimes people like that,” says Instagram micro influencer, Breeahn.

In an ever-changing landscape, the influencer space is unknown and “fickle”. We have all heard of these big-name influencers – AFL wags turned mums, supermodels and reality stars with an impressive following and sponsored content. But what about those mums who have grown their audience solely from organic content and “a passion for fashion”?

The young mummy micro influencer does not focus on likes, comments or follower count but rather focuses on meaningful connection with their audience and an organic endorsement of their posts. These women are using Instagram for the love and taking back those negative connotations associated with the term ‘influencer’.

But what is a mummy blogger? Are they paid? Do they have to be glamorous? What are the prerequisites?

34-year-old Breeahn is a mother of two and has amassed a following of almost 13,000 as @the_aussiemummy.

Speaking to Breeahn while she’s sitting in her PJs, she’s not what you would typically imagine of an Instagram influencer. With her unique style and iconic pink hair, Breeahn is taking on life as a mummy influencer.

“Instagram is my happy place,” she says.

Although her feed is beautiful, she still reveals a very raw and honest depiction of her life, opening up to her followers in a way that has built an incredibly loyal foundation.  It is an influencer’s relationship with their audience that makes or breaks them. “I definitely care about my audience. I’m here for them,” says Breeahn.

Originally starting her page as a way to share the fashion she loves with people; it has grown to the point where she receives gifts in exchange for promotion and runs her account “like a business”. However, this isn’t her only business venture as she also works in digital marketing.

With many people now realising the potential of a career on Instagram, some have tried to exploit the platform for their own financial gain.

“A lot of young people are looking at Instagram as a career and I find that to be problematic as to be an influencer you have to be really genuine. It has to come from a place of you really just wanting to help your audience out not ‘I want to make money’ because at the end of the day, you’re there for your audience, not there to make money,” says Breeahn.

It can be hard to distinguish genuine content from sponsored or altered feeds and finding an influencer you especially resonate with has become more and more difficult.

An influencer profile typically uses the ‘business function’ of the Instagram page.

Sometimes, influencers may be offered money to endorse certain products, this is typically found in the pages that boast a 50,000+ following. These payments can range anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to the thousands, with bloggers charging different rates for different types of content.

There is no perfect formula to gaining an impressive following on Instagram. Two visually similar pages can have entirely different followings and engagement.

Despite the competition, Breeahn finds that the influencer world “is more of a community” and rather places emphasis on what she can do to make her content “unique and special” in a way that her “audience will like”.

However, according to social media professor, Dr Brent Crocker, “it does matter what you’re posting, it is important to specialise in something”. A page will usually gain traction and a large following when they are consistent with messaging, posting, content and establishing a genuine bond with their audience.

When thinking of influencers, most people associate the term with young models with followers reaching the millions but often an influencer’s audience can range from a mere couple of thousand to the millions. There are no numeric limitations on when someone can be described as an influencer or not.

While 13,000 followers don’t seem like much in the current climate of such a far-reaching platform, it is often these hidden gems that resonate with their audiences. In fact, brands are starting to realise the importance of finding influencers who have a deeper connection with their following. They have identified the correlation between engagement and product purchase.

Engagement rate is the sum of the likes and comments that a page receives per post, divided by the page’s number of followers.

Engagement rates are healthy metrics to monitor because they underline how frequently the page’s following interacts with their content, and forces pages to focus on important data, rather than vanity metrics (like the number of followers).

“Nano influencer followers are closer to them and tend to have more influence. Macro influencer engagement is relatively poor, people don’t always listen to them,” says Dr Coker.

With audiences becoming more and more aware of sponsored content this can often lead to a decrease in audience engagement for endorsed influencers or those with a large following.

 Micro influencers are a fantastic way for brands to promote products as it provides the brand with content to repurpose and enhances product credibility.

Dr Coker says that it’s another form of “good old classic endorsement but it’s packaged in a new way. It’s regular people, micro influencers, that people relate to on another level”.

The growing power of influencers is continually being recognised and utilised by brands. Brand ambassadors (social media users who promote solely for a specific brand) as ‘regular people’ is a newfound norm as brand’s realise the benefits of partnering with not only the influencers themselves but their dedicated and attentive audiences.

Social media marketer, Marija Likoravec, has noticed a “huge” increase in mummy bloggers in comparison to other Instagram niches.

Being a new mother herself, Marija feels she can relate to these influencers on a personal level and says that “80% of the time [working with them] it’s fantastic, they are usually super flexible and quite down to earth”.

In her experience, Marija has noticed that it is the mummy blogger’s audience who are the most engaged and receptive to new, advertised products. As technology becomes a bigger part of our lives, many aspects become fused together.

“I almost feel like the mummy blogger community is the new mother’s group,” says Marija.36-year-old, mum of two, Rebecca McDonnell is behind the Instagram page @thebargainstyler_ with a following of over 30,000.

While not her full-time occupation, Bec has enjoyed the creative freedom of running a successful bargain hunter page.

“Instagram as a hobby has been really good to keep me busy and have something a little bit different other than motherhood the whole entire time,” she says.

From the beginning, Bec was able to identify what worked and what didn’t with her following and has been using the same formula ever since.

With some fashion bloggers Instagram pages filled with numerous sponsored posts it can often be a breath of fresh air to see influencers posting content that they love. “The key to my growth is organic posting,” says Bec.

However, with followers and admiration does come the flip side. Trolls and negativity online showcase the darker side of Instagram where people take pleasure in belittling and bullying others. Although we might not have a personal experience in it, most if not all internet users have seen negative comments at least once.

“People don’t understand that there’s a person on the other side of that Instagram account. Words and comments do hurt us,” says Breeahn.

When we think back to Instagram’s initial release, we remember its original purpose – to share the content we love with the world.

While mental health is rife throughout society, much of the narrative is around personal accounts of the diagnosed individual rather than what it’s like for their family members. As a child of a mother who suffered from bipolar disorder, it was challenging and oftentimes traumatic.

One of my biggest fears in life is turning into my mother.

This may seem harsh, but the reality is I have two mothers in the same body. Two mothers who wear the same face but have entirely different personalities, and with whom I have entirely different relationships.

When I was 15, I was confronted with the knowledge that my mum’s erratic behaviour and quick ability to switch between emotions wasn’t considered normal but born of bipolar disease.

Healthline describes bipolar disorder as “a mental illness marked by extreme shifts in mood”, but it is so much more than that. No one has said worse things about me than my mum during her episodes.

Growing up with a parent who suffers with mental health problems is hard work.

It is widely underestimated how much a mental health disorder effects the diagnosed individual and consumes all facets of their lives from support networks, to relationships and even employment.

It has been scientifically proven that an individual’s relationship with their mother is one of the most important bonds one can form in their lifetime. All future relationships hinge on this dynamic and that is where I have struggled for years.

My mother’s mental health has tested our relationship time and again, to the point I have almost ceased our relationship entirely. It’s challenging for many people to imagine that such a universal bond can be threatened and hurt by an uncontrollable part of someone.

I love my mum, I really do, but there’s only so much hurt a person can take from someone so important to them before they begin to shut off.

My earliest recollection of being able to identify her symptoms was during high school, a time already rife with the difficulty of adolescence. When she experienced a manic episode, it was like she was taking upper drugs. She could exercise at the pace of professional athletes, she could socialise into the night, she had no regard for anything other than following where that high might take her.

On the flip side, she would experience depressive lows where she wouldn’t be able to leave her bed for weeks, refused to speak to anyone, her mere form devoid of any semblance of happiness. I didn’t understand at first but over time this pattern does become normal, the hardest thing is realising that the unmedicated version of that person is entirely different from their healthy selves.

I had seen and heard the way familial mental health issues has affected families but to me… I was fine? I had friends, excellent grades, successful sporting career and had a healthy relationship with food. From high school to university I didn’t stop, I threw myself into work, social commitments, work and pretty much anything that would keep me occupied.

Now I realise that it was from the time I was 14, I subconsciously decided that I wouldn’t trust anyone else to take care of me, I had to be emotionally independent.

According to the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, “It is estimated that 21-23% Australian children live in families with a parent who has mental illness.”

When you think about how much of the population that actually is raising a generation, the figures can become quite alarming.

To say that my mum’s mental health issues have profoundly affected my life, relationships and attachments is an understatement.

As humans we mimic our parents, we deal with situations in a way we have seen our parents do. Yes, we are our own individual, but it is the environment we grow up in that we relate to the most. I began to mimic some of my mother’s behaviour.

Oscillating between emotions was overwhelming, I experienced a dichotomy of emotion on a daily basis that I would internalise. Being okay and then not being okay within the flick of a switch was as easy as breathing. Traumatic stuff didn’t affect me, small things did. A failed personal issue affected me so much more than failing other people.

To me, for a time, having a mental health issue meant that you were weak minded; you weren’t strong enough to deal with the pressures of everyday life.

I never understood the impact on my own life until I started to notice a reoccurring pattern in my own behaviour. It was then I sought help.

Seeing a therapist is when I realised that I, indeed, have toxic traits which jeopardise my experiences. If I felt the slightest bit abandoned, I would switch off and immediately shut it down for fear of being hurt. I wasn’t able to trust people when they would say nice things because in my mind, if my mother could say the best then worst things about me, what’s to stop someone else.

Ironically, I was arrogant and condescending when it came to understanding mental disorders because I had accomplished so much when living in a dysfunctional household. I always had a guard up so when people do leave it doesn’t hurt as much.

I realised that I needed to work on this. I couldn’t live my life scared of emotion, rejection and hurt. It is our feelings that make life worth living.

Every day I try to take a small step to bring down these walls. I’m sick of being worried and I’m tired of being stressed.

For people who experience similar struggles, I’ve found that the best medicine is to talk, communicate and listen.

Despite how far I’ve come, there will always be a small part of me terrified of turning into something I can’t control, because it is that control that has held me together for so many years.

Endometriosis sufferer, Nevena Rosic, shares her experience battling the debilitating condition that affects so many Australian women. Recognising the signs of this disease is paramount in treatment, writes Alyssa Batticciotto.

I need to have a child by 30, and even then, I will struggle to carry the child to term,” says Nevena Rosic.

In 2014, 19-year-old Nevena experienced an appendix rupture, internal bleeding, infection and cysts on her ovaries before a colonoscopy identified the root of the problem – stage four endometriosis.

Endometriosis is a condition that many Australian women aren’t familiar with. However, for one in ten women it is a crippling disease that can exponentially impact their relationships, capacity and ability to work and study, and mental and physical health.

The disruptions to daily routine, and the pain itself, can create fear for those who suffer. “Sometimes I can’t do every day living,” says Nevena.

Not only can this condition inflict harm and chronic pain, it is a progressive disease which can worsen over time. The key is to detect symptoms early and use necessary treatment to help manage the condition. However, for those who have never heard of endometriosis before, this can be a confusing and scary time in their lives.

“One day you can be fine and then all of a sudden I’ll have cramps, double vision and nausea,” she says.

Endometriosis is a condition in which cells similar to those that line the uterus – the endometrium – grow in locations outside the uterus.

One of the most fearful things about this condition is that there are no known triggers.


There is no specific formula in identifying endometriosis but there are some key signs to look for. Early detection is imperative in reducing the risk of further complications so seeing your doctor when experiencing any of the symptoms is highly important.

The symptoms of endometriosis include:

  • Painful periods
  • Pain during sex
  • Pelvic or ovulation pain
  • Pain in the lower back and thighs
  • Bowel symptoms – pain using your bowel
  • Bladder symptoms – pain when passing urine
  • Reduced fertility
  • Nausea and lethargy
  • Premenstrual symptoms

“When the time of the month comes, I’m bedridden,” says Nevana.

It can be a genetic disease so females with family members affected should be wary of the symptoms associated, this is especially the case in families where mothers or sisters are affected.

Despite being relatively educated due to her own mum’s diagnosis, she thought there was “no point looking into it because [she’s] never going to have it”, despite the reg flag of family history. This does point to the larger issue around lack of education.


This disease can affect the entirety of the woman’s reproductive system. As the cells in the uterus (and the damaged cells outside) respond to the oestrogen hormone and do not respond by exiting the body but rather can cause rigorous bleeding and fibrous scar tissue to form.

I was constantly in and out of hospital, the staff know me by now the second I turn up at emergency, says Nevena.

Infertility is an incredibly large danger that women with endometriosis can possibly suffer, especially if not treated quickly enough.

Ovarian cancer does occur at higher than expected rates in those with endometriosis and although rare, another type of cancer — endometriosis-associated adenocarcinoma — can develop later in life in those who have this condition.

As you can see, the dangers from this disease can have everlasting impact on those who suffer with it however it isn’t widely publicised as a debilitating condition.

Increased Risks

Some of the suspected risk factors for endometriosis include:

  • Menstrual cycle factors – including early age of first period (menarche), heavy or painful periods, short menstrual cycles (less than 27 days) and long periods (more than one week)
  • Allergies – such as food, eczema and hay fever
  • Obesity
  • Family history of endometriosis
  • Exposure to toxins – some research suggests that persistent environmental pollutants, such as dioxins, might contribute to the development of endometriosis

Preventative measures

Factors that may help reduce your risk of endometriosis include:

  • Aerobic exercise for five hours per week – studies show a 50 per cent reduction in the risk of recurrence
  • Childbearing – for some women, this reduces the risk that endometriosis will recur.
  • Hormones such as the contraceptive pill as it prevents ovulation and may suppress endometriosis


Oftentimes your local GP will try a process of elimination to cure the pain of those suffering with endometriosis.

If no progress can be found, they will then move onto one of the following to help diagnose:

  • Blood tests
  • Laparoscopy – a surgical procedure performed under general anaesthetic, where a slender medical instrument like a small telescope with a camera attached is used to examine your pelvic organs.
  • Ultrasound
  • Colonoscopy – while you are sedated, a medical instrument with a camera attached is used to examine your bowel. This is done if it is thought the endometriosis could also be affecting your bowel.


There are a few options to treat endometriosis, below are some of the options available:

  • In cases of mild endometriosis, simply monitoring your condition with your GP is sufficient enough
  • Hormone controlling pills including progestins, gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists and the oral contraceptive pill can help to diminish the growth and side effects of endometriosis
  • Serious surgery may be a considered option if symptoms become unbearable

Many women have found that the use of naturopathy can also have remarkable results with their symptoms. Some of these can include:

  • Herbal medicine
  • Traditional Chinese medicine
  • Nutritional therapies
  • Massage
  • Yoga

The only thing I can do when I feel pain is to lay in a dark room with a heat pack, says Nevena.

With little known information on the causes, the Australian government is now funding an investigation into the causes of endometriosis.

Despite this new funding, many women suffering from the disease believe that finding a cure is imperative, “even bulk billing some of the treatment would be incredibly helpful”, says Nevena.

Given the level of pain some women experience when trying to identify the root of their problems, it is incredibly important that girls and women are not only educated but provided with the necessary help.