Monday, 31 October 2011

Halloween 2011 with Michelle

Saturday night Michelle invited me to a Halloween Party in Waterloo.  When she told me she was dressing up as Wednesday Addams, I immediately thought of my long black maxi dress that I wore to Robbie's Rehearsal Dinner and how I felt like I was channeling Morticia Addams that night anyways.

May I present to you, Morticia and Wednesday Addams!

Isn't Michelle's face just awesome in this photo?

All I needed to buy to complete the outfit was the black wig and a black rose.  Apparently the wig looked pretty genuine on the night and people found it hard to believe I am really a Ginger!

Both Michelle and I remembered how we used to dye our hair so much darker when we were younger.  I even went black at one point.  It must have looked awful as it makes me look deathly pale!

I swear, this is why I call Michelle Bambi (among other things) - her legs go on for MILES!

One of the family (with Michelle's flatmate Anik featuring as Uncle Fester)

Bestie, I love you and this photo of us.  I think we should play dress ups every weekend!

What did you do for Halloween?  Is it something you celebrate where you are?

Set Fire Workout - BodyRock.Tv

This morning I set my alarm to get out of bed at 6am to complete a workout.  I knew it would be a tricky thing to do since it is so cold and dark these days at 6am - but I would rather be working out in my lounge room than going out for a run outside.  I kinda of saw it as the lesser of two evils.  Right? ;)

The workout today was the Set Fire Workout.  My scores are below:

1. Mountain Jump Lunge (2 jump lunges and 2 mountain climbers counts as 1 set) - 5-5-5-5
2. Sliding Push Ups – 11-9-9-10
3. Mountain Jump Lunges – 5-5.5-5-5
4. Crunch Scissors – 9-11-9-10
5. Mountain Jump Lunges – 5-5-5-5
6. Reverse Push Up & Knee Tuck – 10.5-13-14-12
Note:  I don't have a dip station so I completed regular pushups with a knee tuck instead of reverse push ups

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Frantic Friday

At work I am lucky enough to finish 1 hour early on a Friday.  Which, usually would be a blessing however for some reason every (Friday since I started this new job) has been the busiest day of the week.

I started the day off with my usual breakfast of  Quakers oats, unsweetened soy milk, PHD protein powder in vanilla, peanut butter, agave nectar, ground milled flax seeds with some natural yogurt.  Honestly, if I could eat this every day for the rest of my life, I would be one happy camper!

It just makes me so happy listening to my breakfast going round in the microwave because mixing all the warm ingredients around is my second favorite thing to do!

Eating is of course my favorite thing to do!

This picture was taken out of my kitchen window.  It looks beautiful (and cold).  It reminded me a little of the great Australian sun rises that I am used to.  Man, I miss home sometimes.  Especially when the weather sits around 13degrees every day!

15mins on the treadmill, jogging around level 9-10 and putting the incline up to around 6-7 at times.  It felt like a really good workout, even though I didn't plan to do the hills.  I might research some treadmill workouts for the days where I feel I need to get more cardio in.

20mins of interval training (2mins on 30sec off) with the punching bag.
I completed rounds of set combos:
Jab + right kick / Cross + left kick
Jab, cross + left kick / Cross, Jab + right kick
20kicks each side + repeat
Punching combos etc

This was AMAZING.  It's been a few years since I stopped training in Muay Thai but the fire always burns inside me. I am going to search for a gym where I can resume training again.  I am in even better shape than I was at my "peak" so I really look forward to picking it up again.  I felt so strong in all my combos - even 20kicks each side repeats!

I took this picture while walking out of work for lunch with one of my lovely workmates.  London, you might annoy me sometimes however I can't deny.  You are beautiful right now.

What is your favorite season?  Are you living somewhere abroad?  Do certain things make you miss home?

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Winter Denial

This is what it looks like.  The temperature yesterday was around 13degrees c in London and I just refuse to put my legs away!

  • Studded biker boots from Dorothy Perkins
  • Black opaque tights
  • Purple tie front shorts from Asos
  • Gold light sweater from Forever 21
  • Leather jacket from Religion
  • Blue wooly scarf from New Look
  • Fingerless gloves from Forever 21
  • Silly face? My own

It is 7:30am and still dark.  I walk 25mins to work and am usually quite warm by the time I get there, however, its really really cold when I set off!

Are you in winter denial as well?  What's your favorite winter outfit?

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

One of the most intense rainbows I have ever seen!

Tuesday was yet another tough day at the office.  I am still catching up on some work that needed to be done from when I was off on  Friday.  The joys of growing up and having jobs that hold you responsible for things hey? ;)

10mins on cross trainer, random setting, level 13 warm up

2 x 15 reps of narrow squats with 15kg (warm up)
2 x 10 reps of narrow squats with 35kg
4 x 8 reps of narrow stance leg press with 79kg
3 x 8 reps of single leg DB squat + plie DB squat with 10kg
2 x 20 reps of seated calf raise at 124kg and 1 x 30 reps at 124kg
3 x 10 reps of leg extensions at 49kg
3 x 10 reps of lying leg curls at 25kg

When I got back to my desk I ate my lunch and got stuck back into work.  It started to cloud over outside and before we knew it, there was one of the most intense rainbows I have ever seen outside! It was just beautiful and I really wish that I had taken a photo that did it some justice.

I love rainbows.... especially since I love Katy Perry's Firework right now and in the lyrics she sings "after a hurricane, comes a rainbow".  Makes me smile!

Is there a song that is making you smile right now?  To be honest, I need all the smiles I can get at the moment and Katy Perry is helping me through with Firework :)

Lunches for the next 4 days.. What are you having?

This week is let over chicken with Chow Mein sauce.

  • Chicken
  • Peas
  • Mixed Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Gluten Free Pasta
  • Chow Mein Sauce
I didn't have time to make my lunches on Sunday afternoon so I made them Monday night.  Honestly, I can not recommend to you enough, how important it is to plan ahead and be prepared.  You save time, effort and money during the week.

I am a creature of habit and love routine.  Can you eat the same thing for lunch or dinner 5 days in a week?

Monday, 24 October 2011

Manic Monday..but it ended well

Monday was a pretty tough day at the office.  It is always busy when you have had time off and even a long weekend like mine is enough to throw things out of whack!  Thankfully I made use of the gym at lunch time and managed to get through the day feeling energised and not nearly as wiped out/tired from the weekend as I should have been.

10mins on treadmill - 1.75K warm up

4 reps of 10 Tricep press with 10kg
3 reps of 8 Tricep push down with 21kg
3 reps of 10 Skull crushers with 10kg
1 rep of 10 Close grip DB bench press with 8kg + 2 reps of 10 with 9kg
4 reps of 10 Incline DB curl with 7kg
1 rep of 8 Alternating bicep curl with 7kg + 3 reps of 8 with 8kg

I was supposed to do Abs today but had a little catch up chat with the lovely trainer at my gym and to be honest, I needed that more than I needed 200 crunches.

Dinner tonight was Caesar salad.  Yummo!  I am not really a fan of this salad when dining out, but for some reason, being made at home just improves the taste and overall enjoyment of it... is that weird or is it just me?  Perhaps it is also because I love/hate cooking chicken and I need it to be just right.

The chicken was seasoned and left overnight in the fridge to make sure there was flavour everywhere.

The dressing we used was Sainsbury's Be Good To Yourself Light Dressing.

Homemade croutons as well along with red peppers, lettuce, green onion, beetroot and some feta cheese.

A drink of Vitamin C and Jersey shore = great dinner and entertainment.  I used to hate Jersey Shore, now I feel like I am related to them somehow and I literally spend half the episodes laughing out loud.

Have you ever hated a TV show and refused to watch it?  Then, did it grow on you and now you love it?

Friday, 21 October 2011

Taking it easy today...

Today I booked a day off from work to prepare for one of my best friends wedding tomorrow.  I managed to convince myself to stay in bed until 8am (which was a struggle as you know I am usually up at the crack of dawn!) and take things a bit easier.

I put some washing on (2 loads already done), had my usual breakfast, let that settle and then got ready to go for a jog.  I am totally in love with my Nike running shirt and jump at the chance to wear it now the weather is getting a bit colder.

I didn't aim for a quick run, I went exploring up the high street in North London and then just turned around and came home again when I felt like it.  I could have run for a bit longer but I do have quite a lot to squeeze into this afternoon as it turns out!

When I got home I completed these two ab workouts (which can be downloaded from the iTunes store HERE).  I really felt the burn today as I have kind of been neglecting my abs lately.  Never again I tell myself :)

The app is pretty cool in the way that it has a lady showing you how to complete each exercise and a timer so you know how much longer you have to go.  There are 3 workouts in the app and I completed these two today.

I loaded another lot of washing and then did a BodyRock (for the first time in a few weeks).  Zuzana hasn't been updating the workouts much (you know, she has a live to lead as well!) so I have been finding other ways to busy myself with workouts.  She seems to be back now, so I am thinking, BRING IT ON!  

Ok, now I am off to get ready for my eye test (need new contact lenses), hopefully get my nails done, come home, wash my hair and pamper myself a little before the rehearsal dinner tonight.  Very exciting stuff.  But, what on earth am I going to wear?  Robbie only just told me I was going to the dinner tonight! Man I love that guy.. ;)

What is your favorite thing about weddings? The romance? The love?

Do it! Exercise Challenge - BodyRock.Tv

This morning I completed THIS BodyRock.Tv workout challenge.

The workout was introduced by the following notes - written by Zuzana:

Hi BodyRockers,
I did this challenge as a first thing in the morning just to get some energy going for the day – it works like a miracle. Whenever you feel down, you can always turn to these workouts to help you overcome any emotional stress that you are going through. During an intensive physical exercise like this challenge is impossible to think of all those things that currently bother you and that’s exactly what you need. Your mind will automatically let go of any negative thoughts and your heart will let go of any negative emotions. I felt amazing right after the workout and was able to see things with a clear mind and open heart again. This is the way to start a new week!

I thought this was pretty appropriate for myself right now.  Funny how some things just seem to touch a nerve at the right time hey?  Makes you realise that you are not alone, no matter what troubles or emotional conflicts you may be struggling with.
My scores were 150 squats with my 7.5kg/16.5lb dumbbell and 150 regular pushups (as I do not have a dip station yet)

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Comfort Plus!

Dressing for the weather and a few drinks after work with a friend :)
  • Green maxi sweater with elbow patches from Zara
  • Insight blue jeans
  • Wittner boots (around 10 years old?)
  • Religion leather biker jacket (not pictured)

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Lil & Legs Day

Ok so legs day at the gym is usually something that I really look forward to.  Don't get me wrong, I was looking forward to today - but I just felt a little tired (probably from the weekend!) and once I started with my weight, I lost interest easily.

Very strange - but I guess there are those days where it happens to everyone, right?

10min on cross trainer - Random - Level 12

2 x 15 reps of narrow stance BB squats with 15kg
1 x 8 reps of narrow stance leg press with 70kg
3 x 8 reps of narrow stance leg press at 79kg
3 x 8 reps of single leg DB squats with foot on bench and plie DB squat (super set)
2 x 10 reps of leg extensions with 49kg
1 x 5 reps of leg extensions with 56kg
1 x 20 reps of seated calf raise with 115kg
1 x 20 reps of seated calf raise with 124kg
1 x 30 reps of seated calf raise with 124kg
(I will get more defined calf muscles, I swear!)

After work I rushed to catch up with my good mate Lil, who I hadn't seen in quite a few months.  We don't live very close to each other, but I realised last night that I should really make the effort to go and see her more often.  Especially while living in London - I should be making the most of being able to travel and see people :)

We had a drink in Camden and then went to the local Wetherspoon's for a cheap dinner.  I ate pretty well all day, knowing that I wouldn't have the best pick of the food bunch when out and about. 

I went for the veggie burger with chips (first time in a looong time) and a pint of Carling for around 5 pounds.  Bargain!

It was freezing, being out and about by the way.  I think at one point my phone said it was 13degrees?  Lovely! Thanks London :)

Is this change in the weather your big excuse to start wearing your cute leather jackets or big Winter coats? I hate being cold, so I am rugging up in anything and everything :)

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

I love my leopard print

  • Leopard top from One Teaspoon
  • Purple pleated maxi skirt from Primark
  • Woven brown belt from Primark
  • Lacoste black loafers (not shown)
  • Owl ring from H&M
  • Cross bracelet from Urban Outfitters

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Cinnamon Pancakes

I thought I would share with you a wonderful recipe that I created the other night.  I hadn't made pancakes for a while and the craving had definitely started up again :)

  • 1/2 cup of oat flour (or you can use blended oats, wholewheat flour or regular white)
  • 1/2 tblspn baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of soy milk (to start, then you may want to add some more as you go)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp agave nectar 

I added a little more milk to the mix as I like my pancakes thick, but not too thick, if you know what I mean.  I had to spoon the mixture onto the fry pan (it kind of has the same consistency as cake mix), so that is why the pancakes are nice and round.  When I pour the mix from a bowl, it does not look so pretty! Also, when I added my cinnamon, I forgot how quickly it comes out of the shaker.  I thought I had gone way overboard, but it was amazing and I loved it.

I cooked the pancakes through and then set them aside to make the next few.  Once they were all done, I placed them all back in the fry pan to heat up just before serving.

I topped the pancake with some Sainsburys Peanut butter with choc chips and agave nectar. 

I also tried to eat this in a nice organised way.  Obviously, after I took the below photo it all fell apart and I stuffed my face (which is the way I usually eat pancakes).

What kind of flavor do you like in a pancake?  Do you prefer plain pancakes with your own flavor on top or do you prefer the flavor actually in the pancake?

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Legs day and the absence of a green thumb..


Warm up on treadmill 10mins - 1.65km

2 x 30 Warm up leg extensions with 28kg
2 x 15 Warm up sumo BB squats with 15kg
1 x 12 Sumo BB squats with 30kg
1 x 10 Sumo BB squats with 35kg
2 x 10 Leg press at 61kg
1 x 10 Leg press at 70kg
3 x 20 Seated calf raise with 106kg
3 x 10 Plie DB squat with 14kg

I am pretty stoked about being able to squat with 35kgs on my back.  It felt good as well.  Perhaps next time I need to put a 40kg on there? haha.. No hold on, I need to get used to squatting 30kg and 35kg before going any higher.  I actually think I need a spotter as well to make sure my back isn't twisting etc.  Since I hurt my back a week or so ago, I have been worried about my form and always take it slow and steady while attempting to lift the higher weights.

On a lighter nite (boom boom tish!) - Matt and I are both stoked to have saved our basil plant from the garbage bin. Sorry, but neither of us have a green thumb and when we bought a basil plant from Sainsburys a month or so ago, we used what we needed and didn't really pay too much attention to it afterwards.

The good news is we both started watering it, and talking to it, and now it is back to life! Crazy hey?  It smells amazing and I am so glad we didn't get rid of it. It really looks cute in our kitchen as well :)

And lastly, who else has seen this in the supermarkets?  Very excited to get my hands on this little beauty to put in oats and perhaps on protein pancakes!

Do you have a spotter or some kind of support when lifting heavy at the gym?

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Old dress from H&M

Today I decided to wear an old favorite of mine.  I bought this dress probably around the same time last year from H&M and fell in love with it immediately.
 Although a bit too big for me now, a leopard belt around the waist changed the look of the dress and got many compliments today.

  •  Black lace dress from H&M
  • Leopard belt from Primark
  • Black opaque tights from Primark
  • Lacoste Club loafers
  • Stupid face by me

Back day & a quick run home

10min warm up on treadmill - 1.61km

3 x 10 reps of assisted pull ups 30kg
3 x 10 reps of seated cable row 35kg
3 x 12 reps of lateral pull down 28kg
3 x 8 reps of one arm DB row 14kg
3 x 10 reps close grip lat pull down level 7
3 x 12 back extensions

Then a jog home to end the day.  It was so windy and it was really like a nightmare having to run against it.  You know that feeling, when someone or something is holding you back?  Not very nice at all but all the more motivation to try and push through and get home quickly.

I have a goal in my head that one day I want to get home in 13min something... That's pretty reasonable right? :)

Monday, 10 October 2011

Special Visitor Salad!

This weekend we had a very special visitor.  My sister is in town! She has to travel a lot for work, between Cape Town and London so when she does come to London - we try and catch up as much as possible.

Friday I got off work at the usual time and ran home to clean the house in preparation.  I am pretty OCD when it comes to cleaning our flat so I definitely like to get it done when there is no one else home :)

For dinner on Friday night, I was planning a salad, similar to what we had enjoyed a little while ago.  But with a few alterations.
Figs are one of those things that you either love or hate.

I cooked the chicken with some paprika, cayenne pepper and chilli powder as seasoning.

This salad is starting to be a favorite in our house. I don't mind a salad every now and then, as long as it doesn't look or taste like a typical salad.

  • 1 bag of Sainsburys bistro salad
  • Figs
  • Chicken seasoned with paprika, cayenne pepper and chilli powder (then pulled)
  • Avocado
  • Green onions
  • Red onions
  • Asparagus spears
  • Walnuts (chopped finely)
  • Feta cheese
  • Dressing with Greek yoghurt, wholegrain mustard, honey, paprika, homemade chilli oil and a sprinkle of paprika (in keeping with the theme of the chicken!)
It was certainly a hit and it was very quiet in the room while the eating was going on.  Usually a good sign right?

Sunday, 9 October 2011

How I cope with food choices on the weekend

Do you eat well/train hard all week, only to ruin it on the weekend with bad food choices and alcohol?  You are allowed to say yes - most will agree!

Most of my challenges over the weekend are:
Actually remembering to eat when I am supposed to
Being able to chose healthy snack options while out and about
Balancing the additional exercise I do (because of the extra time) with the food I usually eat

This is where we prove that we can make the right call under pressure (time, money and socially) and we can live our lives on the weekend without feeling like we are missing out.

Here are some tips that keep me on the straight and narrow for the 2 days away from organised chaos.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast within 1 hour of waking.  It's always good to start the day with good intentions right?  I tend to make my porridge a bit bigger on the weekend.  Or trick treat myself to a protein pancake (naughty but healthy right?)
  • Be prepared.  If you know you are heading out for the whole day - try and take some snacks with you.  Yoghurt would be a silly idea (unless you want to lug a cooler around) but a protein ball or muffin will keep in your purse for a few hours.
  • Try to make a healthy eating plan that suits your surroundings.  If you know you are going to Westfield or central London with your partner or mates, try and direct them somewhere healthier for lunch. I would chose a sandwich with fresh mango/lime from Pret over a burger from McDonalds any day.  I know this is a personal choice but I find it helps me if I know at least some of the nutritional information (from the packet) of the food before I decide.
  • Be careful about drinking your calories.  Many people ask me if I still enjoy a drink and the answer is YES!  However, I will always pick a vodka, fresh lime and soda over a 500ml cider or Jack and Coke.  I really do recommend checking out some tools online to see how your favourite drink fares against what else is out there.
  • If you have been to the pub and then suddenly its 1am and everyone want's to go for a kebab or dirty chicken afterwards, you can still say yes, but just be careful about what meat/chips/sauces you go for.  I haven't eaten a kebab in years, however I used to always ask for the meat at the top (meat on the bottom has all the fatty gross stuff that has seeped its way down from the top), tabbouleh / salad, a small amount of hummus, chillies (for the metabolism), a small amount of garlic sauce and no mayo or other sauces.  Honestly, do you know how much sugar is in one table spoon of ketchup? Especially the bulk ketchup your local chicken joint buys.  If its cheap, they buy it.  Not if its low in salt/fat/sugar - just for you.
  • Keep busy.  If you are at home relaxing and you feel yourself getting hungry, try not to eat just because you are bored.  If it isn't a time you would usually eat, just ask yourself, am I hungry because I am bored? Am I hungry because its time to eat? Am I hungry because I actually had time to run longer than 30mins and now I need to refuel?  Drink some water and answer your own question as best you can.  
  • Be passionate about your food when you are at home, however if you are cooking your meals for the week - make sure you are full so you don't pick at what you are preparing.
  • Last but certainly not least.  Do not beat yourself up if you do feel you have gone a little overboard.  You have not ruined everything.  You have not put yourself back to square one.  You are living your life!  This is not a race to the finish.  This is not a destination.  This is a journey and a lifestyle.  
I hope this helps just a little.  I really enjoy the structure of my working days because I know where I stand with food, break times and work routine.  It is bad enough heading to work on a Monday morning without the extra feeling of guilt about what I have eaten over the last 2 days.

How do you get through the weekend?  Do you prepare snacks? Are you as regimented as Monday - Friday?  Or do you see it as a "treat" and a "break" from your regular routine?

Saturday, 8 October 2011

My first ever guest post - Where Are My Knees?

Today was very exciting for me as my first ever guest on another blog, went live at 6pm!

I have shared some information about how I kick started my own healthy lifestyle changes, started running and overall, got motivated!

Click Here If you want to check it out - Hopefully you can relate to what I have written about and it helps you kick start your own healthy lifestyle changes.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I hope you enjoy what I have talked about.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Keen as Mustard!!

This morning when I woke up, I was prepared to get my exercise on!  I walked to work in around 25mins.  I love this time or morning.  Fresh air, feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed while usually listening to whatever "theme song" I am flogging at the minute.  

Exercise @ the gym:
10min warm up on elliptical
3 x 15 sets of wide stance push ups
3 x 10 sets of cable cross over
5 x 10 sets of DB bench press
3 x 10 sets of Include bench press
Some ab work and ....drum roll please..

3 x individual PULL UPS!  I did THREE!! Can you believe it?  Last week on Friday I completed 1 pull up and today I managed to do three.  It was amazing.  My endorphins went crazy all afternoon!

When I got home, the weather turned pretty nasty so I rugged up to complete a quick run.  I didn't need convincing to try out my new Nike running top!  Not only does it look pretty trendy, it kept me warm as well. Very comfortable and a great fit.  

What do you think?

I told you it was a quick run!  Quick in time, not so quick in pace.  After legs day on Wednesday, I could definitely feel the burn and was loving it.  I ran my usual route (but only one lap of the park as it was dark) and high tailed it home when the wind picked up.

We have the arrival of a very special visitor this weekend, so Matt and I needed to get some grocery shopping done before our usual Sunday afternoon shenanigans.  For the second day in a row, this meant that dinner wasn't thought about in great detail - so I had to make do!
I don't usually like microwave meals, but this one seemed OK given the circumstances.  It was 9:30pm by the time we got home and I wasn't feeling a dinner smoothie for the 3rd night in a row.

It was very nice - however not something I am going to be craving again.  Give me a nice home cooked meal any day!


Right, off to have a shower and get prepared for our visitor!  I am serving a salad for dinner as again, we wont be eating until around 8:30-9pm.  I don't mind waiting though :)

Do you have a signature meal that you prepare for special guests or visitors?  My Mum is famous for her lasagne and it is always requested for family dinners.