Monday, 26 December 2011

Lose weight for free...

As most of you know, losing weight and gaining health and fitness is an issue that is very close to my heart.

I started my 40kg weight loss journey as a New Years resolution a couple of years ago. And I have kept the weight off.

I am still a sturdy girl, and still have a fair bit of weight to lose. But I am healthier and fitter and happier than I have ever been. Making the choice to lose weight was one of the best things I have ever done for myself.

But I am, like a zillion other women, going to set a goal to lose more weight this New Year.

But did you know that there is, on average, half a billion dollars wasted on New Year weight resolutions?!


Australian women are blowing this staggering amount of cash trying to get into shape at the start of each year and many never get anywhere near their goals. Such a shame, such a waste of energy and effort and money.

I am very clear that I do not really endorse any particular diet plan. But I am a strong advocate of finding a healthy way to eat that helps you lose weight, and then sticking to it. Find a plan that works for you and stick to it.




There is a new Galaxy study, released today, by My Special K that shows Australian women have every
best intention for their eating and exercise habits when it comes to New Year’s resolutions and they’re certainly prepared to splash the cash, but only 10 per cent ever see the benefit.

In fact, 43 per cent of women investing in their shape said they saw no benefit from the money spent and a
further 33 per cent said they only saw a short term benefit but nothing that lasted.

In 2011, almost half (49 per cent) of Australian women made New Year’s resolutions to manage their
weight and health better. Seven per cent gave up in the first week of January.

My Special K is a new website hosting a completely free, personalised eating and exercise plans. As a part of it's inception, the research team at Kellogg surveyed Australian women between the ages of 18 and 59 to uncover their New Year’s Resolution habits and subsequent spending habits on weight management plans.

The new My Special K site goes live on Boxing Day (today!) providing free,personalised exercise and eating plans, and also motivational support from former Olympian, Hayley Lewis, who has co-created the exercise elements of the plans.

When asked what was needed to maintain their New Year’s resolutions, Australian women said the right
foods, a great exercise plan, and feeling motivated (47 per cent) were all key. I personally would agree totally. If you know how to eat well and commit to regular exercise, and take time to get your head right, you will lose weight. The My Special K site gives you all that for free.




It's designed well because it gives you your personalised meal and exercise plans for the
weeks ahead and focus in on a long-term lifestyle change rather than a quick fix. You can set up your
personalised plan at the click of a button…and it’s all completely free.

All of the plans on myspecialk.com.au have been developed in conjunction with expert nutritionists,
dietitians and fitness experts to harness the latest in scientific thinking and bring users cutting edge advice
about weight management.

As well as the plans, the site features expert advice on all aspects of weight management, easy recipes, an
eating out guide, plus handy tools such as a BMI calculator and exercise tracker.

I will be road testing the My Special K personalised plans - I am registered already - as soon as I get back from holidays, I shall report in! Anyone joining me? 


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PS This is not a sponsored post. I just like that Kellogg seem to "get" that weight loss should not cost $$, and are as such they are providing a brilliant free service to anyone who wants to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable fashion.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Out of office (and a Thank You...)


My deadlines have all been met in relation too school, work, and Christmas preparations.

I have a few posts scheduled for over the Christmas period - random ones, here and there, that you might find interesting. Apart from that, we are heading to the beach.



I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy and safe Christmas.
I've had a brilliant year of blogging and writing.
This has largely been due to my loyal and lovely and engaged and engaging readers - and I appreciate each and every one of you, so thank you, and Happy Christmas.

I shall be back in the New Year sometime...

xxx

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Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Just keep swimming...


It seems that there are all sorts of dramas going on on the internet at the moment.I am largely oblivious.
Dare I say it, I do not want to expend valuable energy on my computer screen. I'd rather spend the energy on my real world.

I am working, writing, and organising a family Christmas. I choose to be involved, truly involved, in these (perhaps superficial?) activities, preferring such simple pleasures to drama.

I have been writing Christmas cards, listening to cheesy Christmas pop songs, taking the kids to Swim and Survive lessons at the local pool, sunbathing and eating hot chips.



I have written about my love of the local pool before. We are spending all this week at the pool. Best plan ever to ensure tired but blissfully happy and sun soaked children. Lexie's hair turns blonder by the day, Olivia's freckles spread adorably across her nose, and Charlie swam 50m unassisted today and I have never seen him more proud of himself. We have played mermaids and sharks and a lot of floating like star fish and had some very very happy days, with more to come. (And more hot chips and icy poles too...)








This evening the lovely husband and I indulged in a little Christmas cheer in the form of some strong English cider whilst we wrapped Christmas pressies, all ready.

I am panicking over the size of the turkey that we need to cook, and the fact that we go on holidays the day after Boxing days o what will we do with the leftovers.

And the kids? The biggest thing they worry about? Bubble bubble breath and the colour of their swim goggles. There is wisdom in their youth.

That is all.

Hope you and yours are having a good start to Christmas?

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Monday, 19 December 2011

Road Trip Fodder (Banana Chop Chip Cereal Muffins...)



We head off on a road trip soon. This gives me a need to reduce pantry stocks, AND plan yummy road trip car snacks.

This recipe uses up all of the bits from the bottom of the cereal boxes - all the crumbs that the kids won't normally eat!

And now that bananas have dropped back down in price, I can use them abundantly in baking again!

I am made these muffins this morning, and stashed a heap in the freezer straight away (they freeze well) so that they are as fresh as a daisy when I take them out the night before we get in the car to travel east.

The rest got eaten for morning tea at the pool. The kids are in a Swim Survive program this week, that is, apparently, hungry work...

Banana, Chocolate and Cereal Muffins


Ingredients 


3 ripe bananas
2 cups Bran flakes or All Bran or Guardian (or whatever cereal you're trying to use up!)
1½ cups skim milk
2 eggs
3 tablespoons light olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1½ cups self-raising flour, sifted
2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
1 cup chocolate chips

Method


1. Preheat oven to 180`c
2. Grease a 12-hole muffin pan. (Or use muffin papers or large cup cake papers - this is easier for lunch boxes and travelling.)
3. Mash the bananas in a bowl, then crumble in the cereal and stir in the milk and the vanilla essence.
4. Set aside for 10 minutes.
5. Then beat together the eggs and light olive oil, then add to the banana mixture.
6. Combine flour and sugar in a large bowl and add wet ingredients and choc chips.
7. Stir until just combined, then spoon into the muffin pan and bake for 25 minutes, until a skewer inserted into
the centre comes out clean.
8. Cool on a wire rack, and eat warm from the oven or freeze. (I let them cool, then put them into a container, unwrapped, with a lid, and freeze them in the container.)

Tell me your favourite road trip food?



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Friday, 16 December 2011

End of term - and not a day too soon...

This is what the end of term looks like...

This is going to be a short, sharp and shiny post. (I am absolutely bloody exhausted.)

The kids are knackered too. So much so, that this week has been spend in multiple meltdown tantrums from Lexie. She has just come to the end of her first term in reception. She is overwhelmed with tiredness and does not cope well. She was so buggered this afternoon that she ran into a tree. I know it possibly looks like I have beaten her - and whilst I threaten this all the time, I did not actually punch her - it was the tree.

Olivia sobbed her heart out at the fact that she must move on next year from one favourite teacher, to a new classroom, a new class and a new teacher.

Charlie is devastated that he will miss his mates for the next six weeks.

The cake stall is done and dusted and we raised a small fortune. Result. Mission accomplished. I was even given a little certificate of appreciation - very spesh!

We've received end of year reports - I could not be more proud.

We managed to get to the end of another term without getting a does of nits. 11 terms down, 32 terms to go.

It's the end of term, and I am grateful for that.

Relieved and grateful that we are DONE with school until February.

Relieved and grateful that they all had such a happy year.

Grateful for their little school and the lovely teachers and grateful to all the other parents that give of themselves and their time.

Grateful not to have to do any school runs next week.

Grateful for my vino.

Grateful for my beckoning bed.

Happy weekend everyone...

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Thursday, 15 December 2011

5 ways to nurture yourself with a busy schedule...

Today I have Naomi from Seven Cherubs guest posting for me. I have no idea where she finds the time to blog, let alone draft up guest posts for me, around her seven children, but I thank her anyway, for a really great post on nurturing...



As a mother to seven children and a slightly addicted blogger who loves to write every day, I often find it a struggle to find any time for myself in my busy schedule. Although most of my days are filled with a variety of activities and household duties, I believe it is important to create the time to nurture yourself as a woman and as a mother.


Here are 5 ways that I nurture myself:


1. Plan your personal time out.


So often as women we put the needs of others first and forget about ourselves. We are just as important in the priority of our families and need to plan some time out for ourselves as well. On Sunday night I like to look at my week ahead and plan at least a couple of time out moments for myself during that week. They do not have to be large blocks of time, even 30 minutes of relaxation or rest helps me to feel nurtured for that day.


2. Give yourself breathing space


Nurturing is all about helping to create an environment of personal growth and to help care for something or someone. As women I believe we place unnecessary pressure upon ourselves to run a million miles an hour all of the time. Giving ourselves some breathing space helps us to clear our minds, to asses our personal care levels and to know if we need to focus on a specific area of our life such as diet/exercise/sleep etc. For me some quiet time in the morning helps me to know where I need to make some changes.


3. Know what you need


One of the keys for me in knowing how to help nurture myself is to be in-tune with my feelings and to know what I need. As I run around during my day which can range from doing the laundry, to the food shopping to writing a blog post, I make sure I stay connected to myself and how I feel. When I am able to snatch a moment to take some time out I can easily know what I need as I am aware of how I feel. Often what I need is simply a rest, sometimes an escape by reading a book and sometimes just a chat on the phone with a friend.


4. Involve your children


If you are a mother and have young children do not be afraid to involve your children in your nurturing moment. Teach them to care for you as a mother as you would care for them.. A small game I taught each of my children when they were young was the ‘sleeping game’. In this game my children would run off to a bedroom and get a pillow and a blanket just for Mum. I would lay down on the couch or even on the ground and they were to take care of me. They would put the pillow under my head. Lay the blanket on me and then give me a little massage on my back. This was all done whilst they had to be very quiet and you could only whisper if you needed to talk. It always amazed me how loving my children could be back to me and often this was the only break I would get during the day.





5. Write a nurture list


When my children were very little I often struggled to find time to nurture myself. When I could snatch a moment to myself I was often too tired to even think of what to do to help myself feel better. So I sat down one day and created a list. A short list of ideas of what I loved to do and what activities I could fit in around my busy schedule. It included taking a bubble bath, taking a short walk down my street, reading one chapter of a book, painting my toenails and sometimes simply putting on a clean t-shirt! I found having a quick reference helpful.

Do you take the time to nurture yourself? How?





About Naomi:
Naomi is a blogger, writer, chocolate lover, kitchen dancer, jewellery addict, commuter bus driver, happiness seeker, home decorator and motherhood advocate. She blogs at www.sevencherubs.com and recently wrote her first ebook, Pockets of Happiness. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.



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Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Are we there yet?


If I can just get through the next fortnight 10 days of Christmas concerts, cake stalls, work Christmas parties (of which there are several...just call me corporate bloody wife of the year...) I'll be out the other side.

If I can just hold on for a while longer, I get to the really good bit of Christmas.

The road trip. Her horizons are beckoning. I cannot wait.

Are we there yet?




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Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Don’t motivate – DEDICATE!

Today's guest post comes from Rhianon, who is a blogger I have know for ages, both in the blogesphere and in the realm of parenting forums. She is a uni student, carer, housekeeper and busy mother of a 4yr old boy and a 7 month old gir,l just trying to slim down, tone up and generally feel good about herself.  Find her at Scone On  Diet,  and on https://twitter.com/#!/sconeonamission .



Recently, I’ve made the effort to really step up my exercise regime, by adding an extra class to my week, becasue what I was doing at the gym is not paying off.

I, after seeing some photos taken on a weekend camping trip, decided to bite the bullet and get a Personal Trainer. While this is another dent in the budget, some days, finding the motivation to step out my front door is hard.




During my meeting and assessment with the personal trainer, I realised this is really going to be really hard work. I love going to classes, as I can be up the back where no one can see me trying my hardest but can’t judge me on technique. With a personal trainer, I am all he sees. ALL of me. Big legs, big butt, jelly belly wobbling. He will be correcting me, making sure I do everything properly as to not injure myself. However, one of the bad things (other than my self conscious panicking about what he’s thinking while he watches the wobble) is that by doing it right – it’s going to hurt more.

Not motivating.

After speaking to a friend who had a baby at the same time as me (nearly eight months ago!) and seeing her fantastic transformation – she’s lost 15 kg in about 6 months! – she has instilled in me a new philosophy. Continue my gym classes and see my personal trainer, but don’t just motivate yourself to weight loss: Dedicate yourself.

Motivation is about psyching yourself up to do something you don’t necessarily want to do, where dedication is committing yourself to a worthwhile cause – YOU! Your ultimate goal is to be the very best you you can be. It’s not a hard task, or something you’ll just get around to. It’s your goal. Wouldn’t you rather be who you want to be sooner, rather than plod along slightly outside your comfort zone?

So. Don’t motivate – dedicate yourself to your weight loss / fitness challenge, and see your change sooner!

_____________________________________________________________________________



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Monday, 12 December 2011

Chips and Christmas...



One of the many things I love about Australia at Christmas is the tradition of carols in the park.

A summers evening, nearly at the end of term, nothing else planned - so we hopped in the car to our local council presentation of carols by candlelight.

The best bits -
  • We did not have to arrive four hours early to score a park just directly next to the entrance, nor did not have to park a four hour walk away from the park
  • There was a free sausage sizzle and free coffee and free hot chocolate
  • There were dinky little fake flame torches for the kids (more stuff for free) - to save me getting all in a panic over burns from dripping wax
  • There was a top notch kids entertainment act as a warm up act to the carols. Interactive panto-esque audience participation. Let us knacker these children out before we get to the peaceful carolling.
  • The MC blokey was an absolute professional - great singing voice, generous with his jokes, good with kids.
  • Santa - he was a lovely old gent - I tend to be a little wary of the creepy looking skinny Santas with ill- fitting red coats and ill fitting beards - this one was very cuddly and trad. And the kids had a right old chinwag with him as they kept their eyes on the lolly bag loot. (Also free. I am beginning to suspect I know why we pay so much in council rates...it all goes to fund shindigs like the carols by candlelight!)
  • The lovely ladies and gents of the St Johns were all out in force - and their services were not required all night. Phew.
  • The local council helpers did a sterling job on corralling all the oldies with chairs up to the back and herding all the families with kids and picnic rugs to the front - no whinging.
  • No smoking allowed - apart from one feral, who Charlie told off. That's my boy!
  • The carols by candlelight was held at a local lacrosse club. Sports club. Club. Club bar. Club bar prices. The lovely husband was a happy man, paying only $3 for the odd bottle of Coopers Pale Ale.
  • The Australian Girls Choir - all decked out in hot pink choir outfits - sensational singing!
  • The brass band. Can I admit, quietly here (and I may need to blog about this in more depth at a later time) that brass band music brings me to instant happy tears? Totally overcome, ever single time. The lovely husband looked sideways at me the minute they started, and smiled as he passed me a tissue. I love him nearly as much as I love brass bands.
  • Carols. Christmas carols. With a songbook and everything. It was just lovely.
The very best bit? A picnic. I packed a picnic. Hard boiled egg sandwiches, cheese, fresh strawberries and fresh gingerbread. And chippies! Oh, how I adore me a big bag of chippies!

I scoffed a whole bag of Ajitas Vege Deli Rice Chips. They are bloody lovely. (I was sent some to try. I had been resisting temptation. At 80% less fat than normal chippies, I have no doubt they will become a regular treat.) They are TOO nice. The kids also really liked them. Which is a bit annoying - I eat chippies so rarely that I am selfish in wanting them all to myself!



Anyway, as I leaned back on the picnic rug with my beer and my chips, crying happy tears at the brass band, not fretting about the kids burning themselves, I felt supremely content. It seems Christmas is a state of mind, rather than a date. Who knew?!

If you'd like to try the Ajitas Vege Deli Rice Chips, just make sure you are following my blog and leave me a comment and tell me where you'd like to take your picnic rug? I have a months supply of these divine chippies to give away. So leave me a comment and I will use Random.Org to pick a winner this time next week. (Open to Australian residents only.)

Tell me your favoured picnic spot? And do you do carols by candlelight?


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Online Competitions

Friday, 9 December 2011

Christmas past, Christmas present...

Gratuitous shot of my tomatoes...

I'm  from the UK, and in December's past I would be skating on black ice right about now, at this time of year. Hunting down Brussel Spouts and Satsumas for Christmas. Dragging real trees onto the roof rack and shopping in the sleet and cold and dark.

In December in England it is, quite literally, dark at 3.30pm. Vile.

I spent 25 Christmas days in England, and it never once snowed. I never once "enjoyed" the heralded "White Christmas". (Nor did I have to endure travelling in treacherous blizzards. A white Christmas, or indeed snow of any description, was never as romantic as it sounds...it turns grey, dirty and inconvenient before you can even find your mittens.)

I once had the rare treat of Christmas "off work". I worked in restaurants, and Christmas was, obviously, an intensely busy time of year. I had one singular Christmas Day off in a decade. I knocked off at around 9pm on Christmas Eve, and drove, excitedly, home for Christmas. This song would most certainly have been on my the mix tape I had playing in my car. Along with the heater, full blast.






Sounds all glistening and festive, doesn't it?

Try it in fog so thick that you literally cannot see beyond the bonnet of your red Festiva. Oh, joy of the season! Not! My shoulders so crunched up from leaning forward that I ached; my knuckles white with gripping the steering wheel in concentration.


Add the desperate need for the toilet into the mix - a 5 hour drive in dense fog? But I dared not pull off the motorway for fear that I actually would never be able to find my way back to the road and would spend my Christmas day in a servo with a whole load of other fog bound strangers. Or worse, alone with the servo attendant.

So, today, as I shopped for fresh raspberries and huge local strawberries, in my shorts and sunnies, I realised how bloody grateful I am for the fact that I live in Australia.


I am grateful for hot days and fresh fruit and the fact that I have ripe tomatoes in my garden before Christmas.


I am grateful that I do not have to work over Christmas, nor do I have to do any ridiculous late night drives through fog to be with my family.


I'm just a grateful kind of girl tonight...



Linking up with Maxabella, as I do...




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Thursday, 8 December 2011

The Lost and Found of Pregancy Weight...

Today's guest post comes from Zoey, from Good Googs. I have met Zoey a couple of times now. She is a star. And her blog is gorgeous. And I thank her for sharing here.



I hated being pregnant, both times. I love babies. I could just soak up in the baby stage for years and be quite happy and content there. But I hate being pregnant. And I more than ate for two during both pregnancies, I comfort ate. And I can't really say I regret it. Because whatever got me from the beginning of that pregnancy to the end of it was worth it. And I'm planning to be pregnant again so I'll probably go through the whole thing again.

When Piper was born she was 2.8kgs and I'd put on about 20kgs and that's not counting the 10kgs of stress eating I'd put on while trying to conceive. None of that matters of course. I would have put on a tonne if it meant I got her at the end of it. She was worth every gram I put on, every pregnancy discomfort, months and months of unrelenting heartburnx and nausea that rendered me incapable of anything beyond the fetal position.

I'll admit that I was spoiled with Riley. I lost all my pregnancy weight plus 10 more kilos just by breastfeeding. And I didn't have to do anything, it just fell off. And then Piper came along and she wasn't a comfort feeder like Riley and I lost approximately zero weight. I was devastated. Breastfeeding was my kind of weight loss regime.

So all of a sudden I had to find another way to lose the weight. And as I'm still breastfeeding, I didn't really want to heavily cut back on what I was eating either, which left me one option - the gym. The 24 hour gym actually. Because that allowed me to sneak off when Piper was sleeping, work out and be back before she needed another breastfeed.



In my pre-child days I enjoyed the challenge of the run. I used to run about 8kms every morning in an hour. And that was when I still smoked a packet of cigarettes. So to start with that was my goal. Not the cigarettes part. I am a very happy non-smoker now. But the 8kms in an hour part. I started with all that I could handle which was about 400 metres of running followed by about 100 metres of walking and I did that for an hour.

I made myself increase the running by about 50 metres each time I went and soon I was doing about 1 km of running to 100 metres of walking and it was at that point that I thought I'm not really pushing myself here. I must have had a good night sleep because I decided to go for 2.5kms without stopping which meant only having two walking breaks in the hour. And although I had that moment after about 30 minutes where I thought 'there is no way I can do this', somehow I pushed through. And then a week later, I decided to go for only one walking break and the week after that I did my 8kms without a break.

Since then I increase the speed every time I go. My new goal is to be able to run at 10km/h for the hour. And now I'm about 4 kgs away from my pre-pregnancy weight. I still have more to lose after that to get back to a weight that I'm comfortable with. Where I feel comfortable in my skin, but slowly I can see the shape of my body returning.

And I still eat pizza, cupcakes and have indulgent coffee-type drinks every week. That is a key part of my lifestyle and I don't see that changing anytime soon. But running is also part of my lifestyle now too. Something that I'm proud of. Running helps me to love my body. Every time I finish a workout I'm somewhat surprised that my body could do it, especially with my mind telling my body that it can't half of the time.

I did a pregnancy test today because I've been having some weird symptoms. And when it was negative I felt a twinge of sadness. I don't want to be pregnant right now (give me another year and I will!) I want to be able to go to New York next year with my husband next year, without the kids and most definitely not be pregnant. But I think after having my two babies there is nothing abstract about being pregnant and not being pregnant so even though I was relieved there was sorrow there as well. But when I am pregnant in a year or so I will be so happy that this baby will get a kick-ass place to grow and thrive. Because running gave me more strength than I thought it ever could.

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Zoey is the mother of one preschooler (the googy) and one baby (the squishy). In her former life she bought lots of handbags and wore a vast array of high heels. She also did lots of things alone - she went to the movies alone, ate alone and even enjoyed having a quiet drink alone. Now she does nothing alone. She lives in regional Australia and loves it, but still misses her shoes. Zoey is a reformed perfectionist, writer, parent adventurer, chaos manager, tiny dictator lover, baby snuggler, photographer and social media addict. She blogs in words and pictures at Good Googs. You can find her on Twitter and on Facebook.


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Wednesday, 7 December 2011

What gives?

Image from here
I need to mainline coffee
I am exercising every day - just. It is SO tempting to not bother, just to regain an hour.
I have not vacummed or mopped for a fortnight. The house is gross.
I cannot remember when I changed the bed sheets. That makes me cringe.
Thank goddess it's the end of term, so I feel no guilt when I encourage the skips to skip their homework
I cannot remember the last time I sat with a glass of wine and made eyes at my lovely husband
Our freezer is nearly empty of real food.
I have a to do list that covers two A4 pages.
I have work deadlines, assigmments due, cakes to bake, children to cuddle, tomatoes to be watered - and I am not sure I am going to get any of it done very well at all.
I bought new t-shirts today as I have no clean ironed ones
I am nearly forgot to blog today

I know it's not just me.

I know we are all frantic at this time of year.

What gives with you?

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Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Michelle arms...

Today I have Sarah from Ah the Possibilities guest posting for me. Sarah is my friend, and despite being amazingly busy, she always steps into help me out with a lovely guest post whenever I am snowed under. So I thank her; and give you her post - which I know you'll all enjoy!



Do you remember when Barack Obama bounced into our consciousness and everyone was caught up in this amazing, charismatic man? Not me. Nope. Even I who am known as a political junkie was distracted by something far more interesting.


His wife’s AMAZING arms.

Frankly, Michelle Obama has some of the hottest looking arms I have ever seen. Except for possibly Michelle Bridges which are also pretty spanking fantastic. Now right now I am in the throes of the Michelle Bridges 12WBT programme and exercise is one of its key features.

And I am here to share something with you. Those arms Michelle Obama has? The awesome ones that look great in every outfit? Well girlfriend works her butt off to have them. How do I know this?

Because one of the things I wanted to work on during this programme was my arms. After twenty years of hunching over and hiding my broad shoulders after a bitchy school mate told me my shoulders were “too wide” I got over my fear. Those shoulders made me a champion swimmer. They’ve nestled and soothed lots of children. They’re actually pretty awesome, and I’ve learned that I can’t let the negativity of others hold me back from achieving my goal or working towards being the best version of me I can. So this summer I am going to showcase said shoulders and arms.

I have been working out on my whole body. I don’t think spot training works, but I do think upping the ante on a certain area can help to improve it, if it is done in conjunction with an overall fitness focus.

But in order to do so I have had to work on getting them toned and taut. And trust me when I say it is A LOT of work. Lots of weights, reps and “I don’t want to.” But the results are starting to show and this summer I will rock the frock. The sleeveless frock ;)

What area are you working on for summer?

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Sarah writes a lovely blog over at Ah, the Possibilities. If you don't already follow her, you should. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.


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Monday, 5 December 2011

Help!


I need a million new ideas.

It's Christmas Concert Cake Stall time again.

I feel like it's only a few weeks since I was up to my neck in icing and biscuits for the sports day cake stall, and here we are again. Not only am I the cake stall lady again, but I am bloody well blogging about it again too.

This time I really need some new ideas.

I spent a happy hour or so on Pinterest last night, gathering inspiration.



But you: you my lovely readers - tell me your best cake stall advice? (Recipes MORE than welcome.)

What are the top sellers?

Do we restrict it just to cakes or branch out this year to fudge and sweets?

Do we do fancy stuff in jars? (See? I don't even know what I don't know?!)

Is chocolate everything the way to go? Or pink? Or sprinkles?

Slabs or individual?

Wrapped or unwrapped?

HELP!

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Friday, 2 December 2011

I'm hosting the Weekend Rewind...



Are you familiar with The Weekend Rewind?


It's a very easy and very lovely link up that gives you the opportunity to dig out and showcase an old post of yours from your blog, and give it a second run. An airing. An encore, no less!



Usually The Weekend Rewind would be hosted by my friend Multiple Mum - of And Then There Were Four, but Sister C asked me to step in this weekend. The Weekend Rewind originated with Sister A - Allison of the Pink Fibro fame. And Maxabella (Sister B) is otherwise engaged with her lovely linky, the Saturday Grateful


So I am the spare - the spare (unrelated) blogging sister - and very happy to be hosting my favourite linky, just for this week...


All you need to do is go for a trip down memory lane and dig up one of your fave posts from the month of August. And link it up below.


The rules of the  Weekend Rewind Linky are the same each week.  Follow along, comment a lot, and share the love by commenting on the other posts in the link up, by Facebooking and Tweeting and Stumbling the posts that you love, the ones that strike a chord.


I'll start us off with one of my favourite posts from August last year -  if you are a fan of a things to do list, it will appeal...

I would love you to join in...

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Thursday, 1 December 2011

Quinoa Tabbouleh with Chicken

Today I have the lovely Tatum guest posing for me. We met, just recently, in real life, and it was a delightful pleasure, as is Tatum's blog and her recipes...

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Hiya :)  I am Tatum, I blog at From Somewhere in My Imagination and I am very excited to be guest posting for Lucy.  I am a busy person, wife and mum of four.  I'm a mining engineer, crafter, sister, daughter, blogger, friend and domestic goddess (well in the kitchen at least) to name just a few of the roles that make up who I am.



I grew up with some distorted views on my own body image that I have slowly, but surely (mostly) gotten over as I've gotten older.  These days it just seems odd to me that I saw myself as 'needing to loose weight' when I weighed around 10kg less than I do right now.  I sit comfortably within a healthy BMI range and these days my key indicators are how I feel and look in the mirror, not how much I weigh.
I love to exercise, for the most part I love to run but finding time can be tricky.  I also love food.  Last year I completed a round of Michelle Bridges' 12WBT, what I learnt from that program will stay with me for life.  What it boils down to, Calories in & Calories burnt = weight loss, no rocket science needed!

Ever since, when I am feeling the need to trim a bit out of my diet I aim to cut my own meals back to around the 300-350 calorie mark.  Today I am sharing one of those with you.

Over the years I have heard quite alot about quinoa, often hearing it referred to as a 'superfood'.  As much as I love food I can be a bit reluctant to try new things, in case they taste awful!

I recently (finally) tried quinoa for the first time and am a total convert!  It is expensive compared to other grains (I'm talking $6-$7 for 500g at the supermarket...look in the health food section) but a little goes a long way.

After cooking up my first batch I quickly had ideas for plenty of other ways to use it.  I'll definitely be using it as a substitute for rice in dishes like pilaf and sushi and it's also a great replacement for cous cous.  I don't think my family would notice if I served it with curry instead of rice and I'm pretty sure I could get away with replacing it as the side to stir fry.

For my first experiment I 'replaced' the cracked wheat you would normally use in tabbouleh and incorporated chicken to make an 'all in one' warm salad.

Quinoa Tabbouleh with Chicken - Serves 4 -  320 calories/serve

  Quinoa2

Ingredients

150g (raw weight) quinoa
300g Chicken Breast, preferably free range
50g Low Fat greek yoghurt
1 tsp Sumac
1 punnet Cherry tomatoes, halved
 2 lebanese cucumbers, peeled and cut into batons
1 large, wholemeal pita bread, toasted in hot oven for about 7 minutes until golden brown.
Leaves from 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, washed well.
Juice of 1 lemon

Method

Mix together the yoghurt and sumac, use to coat the chicken breast and set aside while you get started on the quinoa and chop the tomatoes and cucumber.
Cook the quinoa in water according to the instructions on the packet.  Be careful not to overcook it because it will get a bit mushy.
Drain the quinoa and leave it to cool.
Heat a grill plate or the barbecue and cook the chicken breast.  Leave aside to rest.
Wash the parsley well and pick the leaves from the bunch.
Toast the pita bread in a hot oven until golden brown and crispy.
In a large serving bowl mix together the tomatoes, cucumber and quinoa.
Add the chicken, parsley and lemon juice.  Finish with the broken up pita bread and season to taste with freshly cracked pepper.
Serve to the table, divide into serving bowls and dig in.

Quinoa-salad1

Hope you give the keen-wah a go and enjoy it as much as we did!
I post recipes regular (both low cal and regular ones) so if you'd to see more you might like to "Like" my facebook page here or follow me on twitter, where I talk all kinds of nonsense!

Tatum xx