Archive for Food & Health

 

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Fitness Update: First 10km in ages!

23 August 2016

Last Saturday, I struggled through my first 5km run in 6 weeks.

So the following day (Sunday), I made myself run another 5km and I felt soooo much better about life!

Running

This week, I decided to do a longer run.

I set aside 1.5 hours and plotted out a 10km run using Gmaps.

The run was great. I started to feel wobbly at the 5km point, but I pushed through and it was all good.

I ran a pace of 6:30min/km and I only stopped to cross roads.

The main problem was that… it rained!

It poured so hard that my shoes filled up with water and my running jacket got absolutely soaked. And when it stopped raining, my wet jacket made me really cold, so I took it off and tied it around my waist.

So there I was, in the middle of winter, running in the rain, wearing a wet singlet and teeny tiny running shorts (also wet), and I was praying that my mother didn’t drive past and see me like this – she would have lectured me to death about getting rheumatism when I’m older?!?!

What is it with Chinese mothers and not getting wet/cold? Haha.

Anyway I ran and I felt AMAZING!!

Planning to do an even longer run next week :)


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Finding My Fitness Class Vibe

16 August 2016

Finding My Fitness Class Vibe

Wearing Abi & Joseph crop (old), Lululemon tights and Hello Parry Cardigan.

Years ago when I was part of a gym, I used to do pilates and yoga classes – I disliked both of them!

(I would rather do a boxing, pump or spin class, because I liked my exercise to be INTENSE and SWEATY!)

After that, I got into long distance cycling for a few years… and now I’m into running.

And lately I’ve discovered the joy of yoga.

In fact, I’ve fallen in love with yoga and what it has done to my body. I breathe better. I stretch better. I relax better. I meditate better. My awareness of my body, my posture, my flexibility and my pose has heightened. I loooove yoga. I never thought I would.

I’m also incredibly frustrated with it, because I want to be better at yoga NOW. I want to be stronger, more flexible, more more balanced NOW. But I’m not. It’s humbling for me. So in that, it has made me listen to my body and be much more patient with it.

(OMG will you listen to all this yogi shit coming out of my mouth!! Who am I??)

Finding My Fitness Class Vibe

Anyway, I thought I would try some pilates again. Who knows, maybe I might fall in love with that too?

Nope. I went to a new class the other day and had a rather poor experience.

The actual pilates movements were OK; I was good at some moves and extremely crappy at others.

I just didn’t connect with the instructor in our style or vibe.

And it made me realise how important it is to find that connection with your class instructor, in terms of learning/teaching styles, what you’re looking for in a class, and what stage you are in your development.

Anyway, enough rambling from me, I’m still going to stick with it and stick with yoga too.

I’m hoping to experiment with a few more Pilates classes and studios in the next few weeks, and hopefully I’ll enjoy it! Wish me luck!

 

 

 


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Fitness Update: Back Into Running

15 August 2016

Running 14 August 2016

On the weekend, I started to run again.

It’s been about 6 weeks since I’ve gone for a run – and it showed.

First run: I set aside 45 minutes and I planned to do a 5km run.

I felt sooooooooooo crappy throughout the whole run! I didn’t go very fast. But I was cursing and swearing the WHOLE way. I felt like absolute and utter shit!! I felt wrong, uncoordinated, slow, aching and heavy. It felt like it was the WORST run I have ever done! It was all wrong. But I did it. My watch ticked over to 5km, I immediately stopped and wanted to cry out with frustration. Ugh!!!

I was soooo pissed off with myself, that I determined to try again tomorrow. I planned to do another run the next day.

Second run:  I set aside 35 minutes and planned to do a 5km run.

OH MY GOD THIS FELT BETTTER. I went pretty slow. My motion was a lot smoother and lighter. I felt good.

At the end of it, I felt that I could have run for longer. I was content and a bit proud at myself.

Next week, I plan to do a longer run. 10km perhaps.

Nothing like a bit of failure to get myself up and kick some ass!


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Sports. Sports. Sports.

9 August 2016

Sports. Sports. Sports. That’s what my children are up to these days.

Doing sports. Watching sports. Training for sports.

My boys are in heaven with the Olympics on tv and a 24/7 broadcast of every sport imaginable!

Lately, they have been doing Athletics at school and they have started to take their at-home training quite seriously; Borrowing my running app, my running watch, my weights, my iPod, casting a glance over my workout print-outs, disappearing to the park for 40 minutes.

They are super motivated! I love it!

However, I have a feeling that they’ll overtake me soon and I’ll be struggling to keep up with them haha.

Cross Country 2016

In other news: My 11 year old came SECOND in his School’s Cross Country Race – which was amazing!

They ran 2kms and his time was 8:24 minutes.

Meaning he was running 4:12 min/kms.

Which is pretty much my sprinting time.

*faints*


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Almond Chocolate Crackle Balls

6 August 2016

Almond Ball Recipe

My kids play run and play SO MUCH SPORT that I have been on a mission to fuel them up with protein for muscle repair and growth.

At first I bought supermarket protein bars for them… but my kids didn’t like the taste of them, and the bars were pretty expensive at $3-$5 each.

So I developed my own almond / protein ball things, based on what my kids like. Hint: my kids hate dates.

I really don’t know what to call them, Protein Balls? Almond Balls? Bliss Balls?

Whatever they are called – THEY TASTE LIKE CHOCOLATE CRACKLES!

Almond Chocolate Crackle Balls

1 cup of almonds
1/3 cup of desiccated coconut
1 tablespoon of cocoa
2 scoops of protein powder (I use Sustagen Sport, Chocolate)
2 tablespoons of rice malt syrup / maple syrup
4 tablespoons (60g) of coconut oil
1 egg white

Throw all the dry ingredients (almonds, coconut, cocoa, protein powder) into a food processor to chop it all up and mix well.

Then add the wet ingredients (syrup, coconut oil, egg white) and process again.

Use a tablespoon to scoop up mixture and roll into balls. Place the ball into a cupcake case (the coconut oil melts and it can get a bit messy), line it up onto a tray.

Bake in 160C oven for 15 minutes.

Makes about 24.

I put 3 of them in my kid’s lunchbox, everyday and they hold together really nicely!


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Fitness Update: Losing 3-4kgs and Muscle Strength

4 August 2016

Yoga Feet

So in one of my previous posts, I mentioned that I had returned from my 3 week holiday, and even though we went on 6 hour walks and climbed mountains… I put on 3kgs.

Usually my weight fluctuates by 1-2kgs, but add 3kgs on top of the fluctuations meant I saw the scales tip to 5kgs over some days!

Ok ok I wasn’t too concerned about the weight gain. I was more annoyed that I lost a lot of muscle mass/toning. I worked soooo hard to tone up! Bah, such first world problems huh?

Anyway, I managed to bring my weight back to normal after a week.

How? I just went back to eating my normal, small-sized portions – instead of my pigging-out-holiday portions!

I just ate mainly vegetables and protein (meat, fish, eggs, nuts).

And I limited the carbs, biscuits, cakes, scones, chips and muffins.

I’ve been testing out some different varieties of organic herbal teas (not the weight-loss, laxative stuff) and it turns out that I drink about 4 cups a day, so I end up being quite full all day and less in the mood for snacking.

As for gaining strength…

I used to be able to do 20 push ups no problems, sometimes 30. Now I get wobbly at 5, and I think I’m going to DIE when I reach 9.

I’ve started doing yoga twice a week (in class and at home).

I’m doing Kayla’s Bikini Body Workout once a week (because I’m slack).

I’m randomly choosing a 28 minute YouTube workout to do once a week (because it’s fun).

I’m doing weights everyday (because it’s simple).

And I haven’t started to run yet (because it’s cold).

I guess you can say that my exercise routine is not surviving through winter very well!


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Six Willows Cafe, Willetton

17 June 2016

Six Willows Cafe

I caught up with a friend for a simple brunch at this cute little cafe way out in suburbia, called Six Willows Cafe.

We ordered a Breakfast Burger ($12) with sous vide beef, egg, bacon strips, beetroot relish, lettuce, hollandaise sauce on a toasted brioche bun. It was really, really yummy. The beef was fantastic, the bun was lovely. I couldn’t believe how affordable it was.

We also had a Carrot Cake (which was a bit dry) and a Blueberry Muffin (which was really good!) for my friend’s 3 year old.

My Green Matcha Soy Latte ($5.60) was pretty good and my friend’s Skinny Flat White ($3.8) was excellent.

I liked really liked the relaxed vibe of the place. I liked that it wasn’t trying to be too hipster, cool, fussy or posh.

It was a lovely, quiet setting for us to have a good chat.

They sell little homewares and have regular little crafty workshops too (very kid friendly).

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Six Willows Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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Fitness Update: My Regular Workout Routine

14 June 2016

Nike Sneakers

Hey hey, how you all doing with your fitness activities?

I thought I’d share my regular workout routine, as a way of writing it down, so I can refer to it and track my progress. Because at the moment, it’s just a jumbled list in my head!

I’m not a professional trainer, I don’t have a certificate in fitness or nutrition. I have NO idea if I’m breaking any sacred fitness rules. But I have been to tonnes of different workout classes in my lifetime, watched enough workout videos, read up about routines… enough to know what I like, what I don’t like and what I’m comfortable with.

So this is just that – a routine that I like.

I don’t like workouts that are too jumpy and cardio-y. If I want a cardio and aerobic workout, I run or do sprints, because they are most efficient for me, time wise. Plus I love running.

With my workouts, I’m more focused on my muscles, toning and strength. I’m not trying to burn masses of energy or lose weight.

This routine is my “comfortable” limit. I don’t sweat too much. I don’t strain myself too much. This is just my personal maintenance.

(Which is why I started the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide a few weeks ago; I was keen to start a bit more of a structured routine to give me an extra push.)

My Regular Workout goes something like this:

2 minutes of yoga stretches – various yoga poses, bending over to touch my toes, lower back stretches, leg stretches.

20 jump squats, 20 push ups, 20 lunges, 20 tricep dips, 20 crunches, 20 weighted lunges (2 x 5kg dumbbells), 20 weighted squat with standing press (raise dumbbells vertically upwards), 20 bicep curls, 20 jack knives (2 x 3kgs), 20 bicycle crunches, then a series of butt exercises (fire hydrant!) and core exercises (planks, commando).

Then I’ll repeat… until I’m tired and can’t do anymore!

Do you have a regular workout? Stuff you make up yourself?


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Frisch and Barc Cafe, Como

9 June 2016

Frisch and Barc Cafe, Como

I met up with some girlfriends for brunch at a new cafe in Como called, Frisch and Barc.

Named after a Nobel prize winning scientist, Karl Ritter von Frisch, who studied the social and communicative interactions of honeybees, he discovered that bees were intelligent creatures who communicated through intricate and complex ways in order to create their home, the barc (wild beehive).

I think the take home word here is community.

The interior was cool and modern, with big glass windows lighting up the cafe with natural light, lots of tables and chairs, a wooden staircase to an upstairs section, and a big arty mural to remind everyone how hip and urban the place is.

The menu looked pretty good. Inspired by American, modern Australian and Asian flavours, there was also lots of tea options, but I’m a soy flat white kind of girl.

Frisch and Barc Cafe, Como

We ordered the Singapore Chilli Crab Omelette ($23.90) with grilled shimeji mushroom, Asian herb salad and ciabatta toast.

The omelette was lovely and fluffy. The bread was drenched in the chilli crab sauce. I couldn’t really taste where the crab ended and the sauce started, because the crab meat was so soft. It was all very tasty and flavoursome, perhaps a bit too salty and overpowering though. The chilli sauce wasn’t very hot; it was mild, which suited me just fine. I liked the fresh salad.

It was a bit weird for my palate. As I ate it, I realised that I haven’t had authentic Singapore chilli crab since… maybe 5-6 years ago, so I had nothing to compare it to.

I couldn’t get over the cost of it. Then again, it was a dish with crab, so I guess it was understandable.

Overall, it was a unique way to eat eggs on toast. It had an element of fun and a cheeky nod to my Singaporean roots.

Frisch and Barc Cafe, Como

Brioche French Toast ($17.90) with coconut and pandan custard, berry with apple compote and crushed pistachio.

Again another nod to South East Asian flavours. The brioche was yummy, soft and buttery.

When I have brunch, I usually order pancakes or cakes as my sweet option… I haven’t had French toast in ages. It was lovely, sweet, fruity, creamy. It was a bit expensive.

We also ordered the Pulled Pork Toastie with Apple Slaw ($15.90) which was the winner in my opinion. The pork was absolutely delicious and full of infused flavours. When eaten with the fresh, tart apple slices with the creamy dressing, it was heaven in my mouth. I would definitely come back to eat it again!

Frisch and Barc
297 Canning Highway
Como, 6152 WA

(You can find their latest menu on their Facebook page)


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Fitness: How I Keep Motivated and Active

23 May 2016

Running

This past week, my fitness mojo has been struggling. It’s a real, begrudging, constantly-hitting-snooze kind of struggle.

The weather is now cold, wet and rainy… and the LAST thing I want to do is take off my 3 layers of warm, snuggly clothing, put on my running shorts and go outside – oh god!

But it turned out that my various pseudo-motivation techniques won out and I did manage to get a few workouts done haha.

I’m not a fitness guru, or model, or celebrity, or anyone who has to work out and look good as part of their job.

I’m just a regular, suburban mother of 3 kids… I genuinely love the feeling I get when I exercise, I love when I feel fit and strong, I love being out and about, I love pushing myself, I love the dialogue in my head when I exercise, I love the post-exercise feeling and I love my body being the shape it is.

So here are some ways I keep myself motivated and active!

 

1) Have fitness buddies.

I don’t actually exercise with them! I just have a few fitness-keen friends, who I chat to over Whatsapp or Messenger… we shoot each other messages now and then, saying “Been to yoga recently?” or “Did you run on the weekend?” or “My bum hurts from my workout!!”

Fortunately for me, I have 2 very keen fitness crazy sons (aged 13 and 11) and they like to keep fit for their sports. So they are always nagging me to go for a run, do a round of workouts, do some weights. It’s awesome.

 

2) Mix it up.

Yes I get hell bored when I do the same thing over and over.

I always try to mix my fitness up: Yoga. Running. Sprinting. Boxing. Weights. Pilates. Workout routines. High intensity interval training workouts from Youtube.

 

3) Be flexible.

If I make too many goals or plans, I often break them and feel really annoyed at myself.

So I don’t have a structured routine. I tend to be very flexible with what I do each week.

 

4) Try something completely new.

I’m about to start Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide, (not so much because I want rock hard abs like the girls on Instagram) I just want some new routines and a more structured workout.

Rock hard abs maaaaay be a nice side effect, but I doubt it, because I eat too much chocolate and instant noodles.

 

5) Try a drop in class 

To find new activities and to add a bit of fun and adventure in my life… I’ve been popping into places which offer a free trail.

I tried Hot Yoga class (38C) the other day aaaaand…. it’s not for me. I didn’t really like the sweating and the intense heat. I felt that I could get an equally effective workout doing a regular yoga class or a HIIT workout.

I’m keen to try a barre class, a proper boxing class and do a bit more rock climbing?

 

6) Buy in bulk.

Buy a pack of 10 class passes to save money.

I’m not a fan of gyms anymore, as they don’t suit my fitness interest, lifestyle and the fact that I get bored easily.

But I appreciate they suit of lot of other people. And I know that “Not Wasting Money” is a good motivator!

Hence if I buy a pack of 10 passes, you can be sure that I’ll be going to all 10 classes dammit.

 

7) Exercise at night

My kids go to bed around 8-8:30pm. My husband and I will usually head over to the lounge room to relax, chat about our day, turn on the TV or hop on our computers.

I will usually set up my yoga mat and start doing some gentle stretches (because it feels really good at the end of the day)… soon my body warms up and I’ll start to do harder stuff (like crunches), then I’ll get annoyed that I’m doing a workout in my jeans, so I’ll change into my fitness gear and start doing a full workout.

I usually do this every evening. And I feel absolutely fantastic after!

 

8) Get nice activewear.

Yep I’m pretty vain. I like the nice stuff. I like the quality. I looooove the feeling of amazing tights against my skin. No more Target or Kmart stuff for me.

I get the good stuff so I can make an excuse to wear them every day!

 

Yep, I think that’s about all the motivational stuff that actually keeps me going.

Hope you find it useful!

Have an amazing week!

xxx


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My Kid’s Favourite Banana Smoothie

11 May 2016

Banana Smoothie

I don’t really like banana smoothies, but I often make them because my kids love them.

It’s also good way to use up bananas, either fresh or frozen. Plus it’s a great way for the kids to get some extra calcium and protein in their diets.

Truth is, I’m writing the recipe here because my kids can now make smoothies for themselves.

So this way I can just tell them to look up the recipe on my blog and I don’t have to shout out the recipe from another room, haha!

I’ve found that the simplest recipe is always the best.

Simple Banana Smoothie (Makes about 2 cups)

1 large banana
1 cup milk
1 cup crushed ice
1 tablespoon of honey
2 tablespoons of plain yogurt (or vanilla ice cream if you’re feeling naughty)

Enjoy!


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An After-Holiday Fitness Update

9 May 2016

15k Run
Hi everyone!

It was Mother’s Day yesterday… and my husband and kids asked me what I wanted as my Mother’s Day Treat.

I said, “I’d like 2 free hours so I can have a run!”

So after a morning of pancakes and presents, my wonderful husband took all three kids to the city for the day, just so I could have my run. Yay!

I ran around the Swan River, around the 3 Perth Bridges (The Narrows Bridge, the Causeway and the Graham Farmer Freeway).

I think I ran 12km (at a 6:30min/k pace) and walked 3kms, totalling a distance of 15km. I was pretty happy with that. I felt great after. A bit sore and tired though.

I haven’t had a big run in aaaages. The last time I ran 12kms was two months ago. Since then I’ve been doing short 2 – 6 km runs here and there. Then I picked up swimming. Then work got busy. Then I went on holiday.

I’ve slowly started to fill my week:
Sunday – Long Run
Monday – Rest, evening yoga at home
Tuesday – High intensity training workout
Wednesday – Yoga
Thursday – EMS session (I did a review here)
Friday – Yoga
Saturday – Light stretching in the evening

It’s been so nice to get back into the fitness groove again!


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Meal Prepping with Vegetables

14 April 2016

Veggie Meal Prep

Because I like a bit of order and efficiency in my life, I’ve been trying to prepare my daytime meals.

Yes it’s a great way to maintain my weight and a healthy eating regime. Yes it really helps me NOT eat crappy food.

But it’s not easy to stick to.

It comes and goes. I’ll do it for 4 days, then skip 2 days, then back at it for 5-6 days, then stop for 7 days, then back for 5 days… etc.

LIFE HAPPENS and it’s OK really.

Sometimes I go out for lunch. Sometimes I have delicious dinner leftovers in my fridge (hello beef rendang!).

Sometimes I eat such a large breakfast that I skip lunch, then find myself impossibly hungry at the end of the afternoon, and I eat everything in sight!

The truth is, I like food and I get bored eating the same thing every day.

So typical meal prepping doesn’t really work for me.

However these last few weeks… I have found a nice compromise.

I spend Sunday making FIVE simple salads, as shown above. After I took the photo above, I actually added a large handful of spinach to the containers. So there was a bit more to my salad than pictured. It’s not pretty. I just shove as much as I can into a 250ml container.

Then: Every day I eat something proteiny with my salad… like grilled chicken, a slice of fish, can of tuna, two boiled eggs, a scoop of leftover beef rendang, steamed tofu, or a slice of sourdough bread that I made the day before, or soba noodles.

That way, I know I fill up on a nice yummy salad for most days of the week.

The variety makes it much easier to stick to!

(Having said that, I have been known to have a piece of KFC chicken with my salad haha!)


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Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Butter Cream

13 April 2016

Chocolate Cupcakes

I recently invited a few girlfriends over for an afternoon tea and catch up. And since it was after Easter, I used up the last of my chocolate eggs as cute cupcake decorations. They looked so pretty!

I used a recipe based on Donna Hay’s Chocolate Cupcake recipe, but I just used less sugar.

It’s a pretty good basic chocolate cupcake recipe. I would have liked it to be a bit more moist, but it has a nice chocolatey taste.

Donna Hay’s Chocolate Cupcake
(Makes about 16)

125g butter, softened
½ cup milk
¾ cup caster sugar (I used ½ cup)
100g dark chocolate, melted
2 eggs
1¼ cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
12 small chunks of dark chocolate, extra

Chocolate Butter Cream Icing
250g butter, softened
2 cups icing sugar mixture, sifted
½ cup cocoa powder, sifted
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 160°C. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and creamy. Gradually add the eggs and beat well after each addition. Sift over the flour, baking powder and cocoa and beat until combined. Fold through the milk and stir in the melted chocolate.

Place a piece of the extra chocolate in the base of each cupcake case. Spoon the cupcake mixture into the cases and bake for 20–25 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Allow to cool.

To make the chocolate butter cream icing, place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 6–8 minutes or until pale and creamy. Add the icing sugar mixture, cocoa powder and milk and beat for a further 6 minutes or until light and creamy. Pipe the icing onto the cupcakes using a star-shaped nozzle, decorate and serve. Makes 16.

Enjoy!


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Flora and Fauna Cafe, Northbridge

6 April 2016

Flora and Fauna Cafe, Northbridge

I have been stalking Flora and Fauna Cafe on Instagram for months now.

Their food creations and floral decorations are such a delight to look at – that my heart goes into an excited flutter every time I see one of their photos pop up onto my feed!

Anyway, I finally popped in with a girlfriend to try it out and it was just lovely. They specialise in super healthy, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free breakfast/brunch/lunch dishes.

Flora and Fauna Cafe, Northbridge

We ordered two dishes to share, plus a coffee for me and a juice for my friend.

First dish was a Green Tea Granola ($20), which they make themselves.

The serving was huge, topped with a variety of fresh fruit, flowers and served with your choice of milk (I chose almond).

It was delicious, crunchy, and fresh. I could taste the green tea, and all the glorious seeds and nuts. But there was a strong flavour of almond essence or organic syrup (I’m not sure!) it was just a touch over-powering because I don’t usually like almond essence.

Nonetheless I happily gobbled up my share. The fruits were so yummy!

Flora and Fauna Cafe, Northbridge

Our second dish was the Heirloom Bruschetta ($19) featuring 3 kinds of tomatoes, gluten free bread, avocado, greens and a sprinkle of feta.

The tomatoes were just lovely, sweet and mellow (not too sour, not too tangy or acidic).

I was absolutely blown away by how delicious this dish was. It was truly bursting with flavour!

I would order this again. In fact, I would take someone special (like my husband) to this cafe and order this for him.

I’ll definitely be back :)

Great: Amazing food, styling, gorgeous cafe decoration, great coffee.

Not-so-great: Price (this cost us $50 exactly), limited seating, no bookings, most of the tables were outside.

 

Flora & Fauna Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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My New Love: Yoga

2 April 2016

Yoga Love

Hi everyone! Hope you all had an amazing weekend :)

I want to share my new love… yoga.

Now I feel like I’m 10 years late in the game. But it’s better late than never!

I’ve been to lots of yoga classes over the years and I’ve never really loved it.

I went to classes at general fitness gyms, community centres, specialised yoga studios, a beachside yoga place, hipster/organic/uber cool studios.

They were nice. They were ok. The workout was meh. It was nothing great. I’d rather do a pilates class. Or a Body Pump class. Or hey, I’d rather just go for a run, because that’s much cheaper!

However I’ve recently joined a yoga class in Perth called Bodyscape Yoga and my mind was blown.

I tried out a few classes… and whenever I did a class, the next day I would wake up feeling freaking AMAZING.

Now, I don’t seem to wake up with an aching back, stiffness and soreness in my muscles and joints.

I seriously feel younger and more energetic. I bounce happily out of bed in the mornings!

It’s a crazy feeling and I love it!

It is definitely something I am adding to my overall fitness activities :)

xxx


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Fitness Update: Running Essentials

30 March 2016

Run

A few of my running essentials: Water, tunes, running watch and running fuel. I tend to drive to a nice running spot, so I can leave all my bits and pieces in my car. Adidas Originals Sneakers from here.

Monday: Nothing!

Tuesday: 6km run

Wednesday: Yoga

Thursday: Nothing!

Friday: Practice yoga at home

Saturday: 30 minute HIIT workout at home

Sunday: Practice yoga at home

 


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Nachos for Dinner

21 March 2016

Nachos

This is what we do with our left over spaghetti bolognese sauce!

We eat it with corn chips and salad.

Easiest dinner ever :)


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Fitness Update: With a bit of swimming

20 March 2016

Swimming

Here’s an update of my fitness activities from last week.

I haven’t been as active as usual, but hey, whatever.

Monday – Played a game of netball

Tuesday – Went Swimming!

For the first time in forever, I headed over to my local swimming pool to do some laps! I did 10 laps, which is 500m, but I struggled with the last 2 laps and had to stop midway to catch my breath. I was completely exhausted but I felt awesome :)

Wednesday – Yoga

Thursday – Ran 2km in the evening.

Friday – Camping with my family (Swimming, paddling, walking along the beach, sand boarding and climbing sand dunes)

Saturday – Camping

Sunday – Camping


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My No Fitness Update

6 March 2016

Chips

We had a kids party last weekend and I ate waaaay too much crappy, party food.

So I came down with a bit of food poisoning (actually it was just diarrhoea SORRY TOO MUCH INFO!!), I felt totally drained and tired all week and I did pretty much NOTHING exercisey.

Sunday: Prepping for a kids party all day. The running around after 10 kids! No actual exercising though.

Monday: Felt bad all day. I played a netball game in the evening. The other team had only 5 players against our 7, so we won 33 to 4 points. Terrible game. No one tried very hard. I hardly worked up a sweat. So after the game I went to a local sports field and tried to do a standard 5km run. I could only handle 2kms of slow, weak plodding because I felt so bad/drained. I felt angry, pissed off and SO frustrated with my body. I even had a bit of a cry because I felt so crappy!

Tuesday: Nothing

Wednesday: Nothing

Thursday: Nothing

Friday: Nothing

Saturday: Nothing

Sunday (today): Nothing!

On the up side, my weight went down haha! There’s nothing like a bit of gastro to flush out my system :P

Time to reset my eating then ease back into the fitness.


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Marumo Japanese Fine Dining, Nedlands

2 March 2016

Marumo Japanese Restaurant

A few weeks ago, I had the absolute pleasure of eating at the elusive Marumo in Nedlands.

According to all the online and offline chatter, Marumo seems to be one of Perth’s most sought after and best value restaurants for Japanese fine dining.

Apparently they are fully booked out for several months in advanced; and to manage the overwhelming demand, they now release a month’s worth of online reservations (two months out) on a first come first serve basis. I’ve also heard those bookings sell out so quickly (minutes!) that slow mouse-clickers are often disappointed.

For me, I was invited to join someone else’s dinner booking, a friend of a friend, who couldn’t make it at the last minute.

Anyway despite all the fanfare, I arrived and there was absolutely no sense of a pretentious, pompous, self congratulating “We are SO highly sought after, therefore YOU should be SO lucky to dine here” vibe.

The atmosphere was humble, simple, minimal and modern.

Marumo Japanese Fine Dining

Marumo offers a 7-course Omakase menu, which means you leave everything up to the chef and he carefully selects and showcases his loving creations in a set menu, based on the freshest seasonal produce.

You turn up at 7pm and the whole sitting takes about 3 hours.

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE that idea. I have no special dietary requirements, only that I want to eat really good food. I like to try a bit of everything and most times I don’t know what to choose… so I am absolutely happy to trust the chef and eat whatever he creates.

For $60 per person and BYO alcohol, I’ve never heard of a place that does anything similar.

First up was a Pickled Squid Salad thing (that’s right, I’m not a pro food critic, so I am completely happy to call dishes a “salad thing”).

It was light, tangy, salty and bursting with flavour. It was a great start to the evening and I wanted to eat more!

Marumo Japanese Restaurant

Chilled Edamame Soup

At first, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of a cream soup to start. I don’t usually like heavy, creamy soups. I have a slight intolerance to milk and cream, which leaves me feeling a bit full and bloated. I probably should have mentioned this to the chef?

But it was actually lovely. The flavours were fresh and light, the consistency was smooth, but not TOO smooth. The surprise sat at the bottom of the soup, I think it was a small pile of crab flesh or prawn? I forgot to ask. Its mellow, salty seafood flavour, complimented the soup so well. It was heavenly to eat.

I’d say this was one of my favourite dishes of the night!

A real surprise for me!

Marumo Japanese Fine Dining

Beef, Mushroom and Bamboo Shoot

When the next dish arrived, I rubbed my hands together… YES this was exactly what I was craving! Bring on the Japanese seared meats!

The beef was soft, tender, gorgeously succulent, perfectly seared and drenched with the clear sauce, which was not too salty or overpowering. It was a tasty dish and really well done.

Marumo Japanese Restaurant

Soft Shell Crab and Watermelon

This was my lucky day. I’m also a huge fan of soft shell crab. The textural contrast of crunchy and soft, borders on the rapturous pleasure of crispy fried chicken. I’ve never eaten it with watermelon before though.

I adore watermelon and grilled halloumi, so I’m no stranger to an interesting mix of sweet and salty flavours. But this dish didn’t quite have the WOW factor for me, as the last three dishes did.

Having said that, the crab was indeed crispy, crunchy on the outside and full of flavour and juicy on the inside; and the watermelon was a refreshing contrast for my palate. I ate them separately, but very happily.

Marumo Japanese Restaurant

Chef’s Selection of Sashimi

I was so so pleased with the sashimi.

It had lovely flavour and perfect texture, it was beautifully cut, faultlessly fresh and sitting on a sheet of ice.

I think I could eat this everyday for lunch for the rest of my life thanks.

Marumo Japanese Restaurant

Tasmanian Salmon Belly Sushi

This was my second favourite dish for the night!

I’m usually very bored with sushi, because (please forgive me) I buy quick-and-easy, “chicken teriyaki” sushi from takeaway shops all the time, so I try not to choose it at restaurants.

However, when I took my first bite of this sushi, I think my eyes rolled to the back of my head… hello foodgasm, it was amazing!

The seared, fatty salmon belly combined with the salty bursts of salmon roe was absolutely delicious. Then mixed with the soft rice and the super crispy outer shell of the tempura prawn, it all just filled my mouth with the most ecstatic combination of creamy, crunchy, popping, salty, seaweedy textures and flavours.

The lovely staff told me that I was supposed to put the WHOLE thing in my mouth to enjoy ALL the flavours at once. It sounded good in theory.

But alas, I’m a dainty eater and I struggled with fitting each piece in my mouth… so I made a bit of a mess on my first two attempts, ha!

Marumo Japanese Fine Dining

Duck, Apricot and Parsnip

The duck arrived and it was a handsome and impressive looking dish. The duck meat was tender, with warming flavours that were delicate, mellow and sweet. The puree brought it all together nicely.

I was quite full at this point and struggled to finish it, but that in no way reflected how it tasted.

Marumo Japanese Restaurant

Dark Chocolate, Peach and Yuzu

Thankfully the dessert arrived, signalling the last of the courses. I was so full, but I always have room for dessert!

It was gorgeous. Sweet, subtle and simple. I wished that I could make such amazing chocolates.

It was such a delightful and satisfying meal.

My girlfriend told me about Chef Moe’s humble beginnings; how he arrived in Australia with almost no money; how he worked hard as a kitchen hand, doing odd jobs; his 13 years of cooking experience preparing Japanese cuisine; how Marumo first started as a tiny shop in the Southern suburbs of Perth, serving fish and chip by day and Japanese fine dining by night; the growth of his business and reputation solely through word of mouth; his dedication to quality and his passion for creating traditional Japanese cuisine with a modern twist.

It seems like all the hard work is paying off for Chef Moe and his wife, Marie. I wish them all the best!

Yep, I would go back in a snap and and would love to share the experience with my friends and family.

Who knows, hopefully I’ll be successful with the online reservations and cross my fingers that I’ll nab a booking four months from now for my birthday!


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Fitness Update For The Week

27 February 2016

Running Gear

I’ve been doing pretty well with my fitness activities this week!

Sunday: Ran 12km, 6:39 min/km

Monday: Netball Game and Body Weight Exercises

Tuesday: Yoga

Wednesday: Bootcamp

Thursday: Ran 5km, 5:49min/km (ouch!)

Friday: Pilates

Saturday: Rest day!

(I do my bodyweight exercises, yoga and pilates at home… so apart from my bootcamp sessions and netball, all my exercises have been free!)

Pictured: Nike Free 5.0 Sneakers (on sale), Lululemon Sports Bra, Nike Running Shorts (or similar here)

 


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Increasing My Pace with 30 Second Sprint Training

17 February 2016

Perth River Run, 12km Clockwise

On the weekend, I ran 12km at my fastest pace yet — 6:12 minutes/km.

I’m a bit proud of myself!

I have been running at a pace of 6:30min/km for a really long time now.

Admittedly, it’s pretty slow. It’s OK. I don’t push myself too hard. I don’t want to hurt myself.

I know I can run a distance of 12km or longer at that pace… and I am still able to function perfectly well for the rest of the day – this is quite important to me. I don’t have time to take a nap in the middle of the day!

But I seemed to be stuck at that pace. Which annoyed me.

So I decided to try out some interval training, where you run for a bit and walk for a bit. Most people advised me to start slow and easy. 2 minute run, 1 minute walk. Or 5 minute run, 2 minute walk.

However, I decided to try 30 second sprint training instead.

(Because it seemed like more fun haha!)

It’s a bit intense. And they say that you should consult your doctor before you try.

I thought I’d be fine. I do lots of sprinting when I play indoor netball. And I run around until I can’t breathe and my face is red and pounding and I want to throw up. I’m used to doing a few sprints here and there.

So I did this sprint training a few times this week and it was sooooooo much fun!

I enjoyed it so much because it was such a thrill to move my whole body so quickly.

It was also humbling because I realised how quickly my legs just gave up.

I can sprint really fast ONCE, then my next sprint is slower, then each sprint after that is slower still, then I’m a quivering wreck because I’m so tired.

I can’t do it for very long. I can only do about 6 – 8 sprints.

But I think it’s really improved my running. And my netball too.

The flow on results have been really impressive for me.

Can’t wait to try more :)


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Watermelon Crush for Summer

12 February 2016

Watermelon Drinks

This is one of the juices/smoothies that I love to make for my kids after school.

Sometimes I’ll use lemonade (instead of coconut water) if I have some leftover from a dinner party, otherwise there’s more than enough sweetness in the fruit.

It’s their favourite flavour and such a hit in summer!

Watermelon Crush

2 cups of watermelon (no seeds)
1 slice of pineapple
1 tablespoon of frozen raspberries or strawberries
4 cubes of ice
250mL of coconut water
1 leaf of mint

Throw everything into a high powered blender, whizz up, then serve in pretty glasses :)

Enjoy!

xxx


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Do More Running

6 February 2016

Run: 1 Feb 2016Hi everyone!

Yep, one of my goals for the year was to: do more running.

I’m not trying to focus on any distances or speed; I just want to simply get back into it and try to find the love again.

So.

I did three runs this week, yay!

1) A short 2.5km run at my usual pace of 6:30 min/km.

2) An interval run – 30 second sprint and 30 second walk, for 10 minutes. I was absolutely shattered after that!

3) A long 12.5km run at my usual pace of 6:30 min/km. No stopping, except to drink some water!

The days have been really hot, so I have been waking up at 5:30 – 6am to go for a run, or waiting until 7pm when the heat has subsided. The fact that I can drag my ass out of bed in the morning, says a lot about how much I’m loving the feeling of being fit and strong again.

I’ve also been following yoga, pilates and workout videos at home, in the evenings, which has been – surprisingly – lots of fun.

I definitely have my fitness mojo back and I’m making the most of it!

Mango, Cucumber and Spinach Smoothie

This is my very horribly coloured, but delicious fruit smoothie with mango, pineapple, cucumber, mint and coconut water!

 


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Perth City Bridges Run: Thunderstorm

30 January 2016

Perth City Bridges Run Jan 2016

This weekend, I scheduled a run on a day the forecast was: 100% chance of rain and thunderstorms.

I guess I was hoping that the weathermen got it wrong!

I woke up bright and early at 5:30am, met up with my brother-in-law at 7am and we ran/walked a distance of 15km around the river, bridges and city.

I probably ran about 12km and walked 3km. My pace averaged around 6:30min/km.

I felt great after! I wasn’t drained or exhausted or suffering any pains.

I think I’ll work on some interval running to increase my speed and strength.

But overall I’m happy with doing regular 12km distances and I’ll stick with that for a bit. I might even be able to hit the 21km half marathon mark earlier than I thought!

Anyway, turns out that we started so early that we missed all the rain and thundery action. We didn’t get wet at all.

We even managed to squeeze in a coffee and chat later. Brilliant start to the weekend!

 


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Juicy Awesomeness from Pure Glow Cleanse

29 January 2016

Let me say one thing: I’m not a big fan of juice cleanses!

Personally, I don’t like the idea of drinking only juice for 3 or 5 days.

BUT…

I love drinking juices and smoothies as part of a healthy daily diet and lifestyle.

For me, I make myself a juice or smoothie every one/two/three days.

And when I DO drink one, it replaces a meal – usually lunch.

I have a big breakfast in the morning, a juice/smoothie in the afternoon, I eat healthy snacks, then my dinner is usually at 6pm.

My thinking: If I drink a big cup of yummy, low-sugar, green juice and feel full… I probably won’t be tempted to reach for a quick muffin / pie / ham and cheese croissant when I walk past some at the shops haha!

Pure Glow Cleanse

So, the lovely team at Pure Glow Cleanse sent me a 6 pack of their juices to try out.

I’ve known of Annette, one of the founders, for a number of years, when she used to write as a health and wellness writer. She had a very down-to-earth, not-hardcore, real-life kind of voice in her writings and I enjoyed reading her stuff. So when she launched Pure Glow Cleanse, I took notice of it and I liked that her juices contained no added sugars, no weird herbs, no laxatives, no vitamin extracts, and no protein powders.

How it works: You can select a 1 day, 3 day or 5 day cleanse and choose a pre-set selection of juices to be delivered to your door.

Or you can create your own 6 pack from a menu of their juices, which is what I did.

They were SO YUMMY!!

I have to tell the truth, I felt a bit irritated, because I thought I was quite good at making smoothies and juices… and tasting these juices made me sigh, because they were just amazing… and now I feel that mine are quite ordinary and mediocre in comparison.

Sooo… I take my hat off to the team! These juices are absolutely superior in quality and taste.

They tasted so clean, fresh, rich and smooth. No grittiness. No chunks. Well mixed. Lovely combinations.

Pure Glow Cleanse

Yes they are super expensive though!

They work out to be something like $10 a bottle. Which yep, makes me wince and raise my eyebrows. One of the juices was simply watermelon, cucumber and lime! Ok it was absolutely delicious, but $10?

However, on the other hand, if you wanted to create 18 juices (for 3 days), you’d have to buy heaps of ingredients (cos lettuce, kale, avocado, apples, pears, lemons, limes, watermelon, beetroot, carrots, ginger, dates, almonds, etc etc etc) wash them, store them, make the juices…. then have heaps of leftover vegetables that would probably go off?

And if you want to have less wastage, you’d have to buy less ingredients, which means you’ll just have a smaller variety of juices, so you’d probably get bored of them? And then be less inclined to make them?

So there definitely is a market for time-poor people, who don’t want the hassles of making their own juices!

As for my favourite juices :

The Matcha Milk was simply amazing. Made from matcha (green tea), spirulina (seaweed), almonds, cashews, basil nuts, dates and vanilla… omg its taste made my toes curl from sheer pleasure!

The Cafe Au Late was a close second, it was soooo delicious! It had cold drip coffee, almond, cashews, brazil nuts, dates and vanilla.

Good Karma (the Orange one) was made from carrots, grapefruit, green apple, ginger, turmeric and lemon.

Green Guru (green juice) had kale, cos, cucumber, celery, been apple, mint and lemon.

Anyway, if you are looking for some high quality juices to try, or try a juice cleanse, do check these guys out!

Have an amazing weekend!

xxx


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My Running Watch: Garmin Forerunner 15

28 January 2016

Garmin Forerunner 15 Watch

I picked up a new toy for my run this weekend – a running watch!

It’s a Garmin Forerunner 15 (AUD$249) which I bought off eBay at an absolute BARGAIN price – hardly used and in perfect condition.

It’s a slightly older model and apparently a good entry level running watch. The top level Forerunner is something like AUD$699. Ouch! I bought the small sized watch and they only came in three “sporty” colour choices – bleh.

I resisted buying a running watch for years, because I didn’t want my runs to focus so much on gear and gadgets.

I had an overkill of gear and gadgets from my cycling days…. and what I love about running is the fact that I can do it while being so light and free.

Anyway, in the past, when I first started to run, I opted to just run with my smart phone to track my distance and speed.

However, I found that my sweat/body heat fogged up the camera lens and all my photos turned out weird. So I stopped using my phone and started using a Jawbone UP24, which was a gift. But that’s just a simple pedometer which tracks steps and sleep. The distance and times were not very accurate.

So! I’ve finally made the switch to a running watch to keep track of my times and distances.

It came with a heart rate tracker, which I’ve been told by my hardcore running friends, is very useful and steps up my running to a whole new level… but eeep, I don’t think I’ll go there yet!

I want to keep my runs sweet and simple!

Looking forward to another long run this weekend. Hope you all manage to get out and about too!

xxx


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Kickstarting My Fitness

20 January 2016

Road Running

Ha this photo made me crack up! I’m matchy matchy with the road! But I don’t know if it’s funny, lame… or possibly dangerous?

Whatever the case, I don’t actually run on the road, as I get super paranoid about being hit by a car.

A Fitness Update :

1) I’ve been running once a week, doing 3 – 4kms. Now I’ve increased it to twice a week, doing 5 – 6km distances.

I’m hoping to do longer distances (12 – 14kms) on the weekends.

2) I’ve also been going hard at my fitness workout program (just a series of exercises I made up for myself), twice a week.

3) Healthy eating has resumed. I’m slowly getting my portion sizes under control too.

4) I’ve started to do a bit more exercise with my boys too. They have expressed a desire to get fit before school starts, so I’m leading them through a few training exercises.

I really enjoy teasing them and the sarcastic banter between us, because at the moment I’m fitter than they are, and I have more stamina. But I’m sure they’ll overtake me really soon then I’ll be left far behind!

I’m feeling so much better these days.

All the endorphins, the dull ache of my muscles, the feeling of building strength in my body and the good sleep that comes after… all makes me feel very happy and satisfied. It’s so good for my mental state!


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James Parker Sushi and Sake Bar, Northbridge

13 January 2016

After weeks of drooling over other people’s Instragram photos, I went out with a bunch of girlfriends for dinner at James Parker Sushi and Sake Bar in Northbridge.

In fact, I like it so much that I went a second time, with a different group of girlfriends.

James Parker Sushi, Northbridge

I really liked the spacey woodwork entrance of the restaurant. It felt a bit 2001: Space Odyssey.

The service was fantastic. The wait person helped us with ordering, making sure we didn’t order too much, and she was very patient with our indecision.

James Parker Sushi, Northbridge

My absolute favourite dish was the Fresh Tuna Aburi ($21).

It was served on a bed of spinach, and topped with other condiments and a lovely ponzu sauce. The tuna was deep pink, wonderfully fresh, and the sear was done perfectly.

The flavours, the textures, the freshness… it was orgasmic!

James Parker Sushi, Northbridge

I also enjoyed the Wagyu Beef Tataki with ponzu sauce jelly ($20).

The beef slices were delicious. However I felt that there was a bit too much ponzu jelly with each slice, which overpowered each mouthful with an intense sourness that I didn’t like. I had to scrape off some of the jelly to enjoy it.

James Parker Sushi, Northbridge

Next up, we had the Assorted Sashimi of JP ($52).

I winced at the price of this dish. But I guess with sashimi, you usually get what you pay for.

This assorted plate was lovely, fresh and I enjoyed it. It wasn’t mind-blowing, but I felt it was good value.

We also had a few sushi rolls, not pictured (Eel Dragon Roll $20, Soft Shell Crab Spider Roll $20, and our favourite, the Aburi Wagu Roll $20) and they were very delicious too.

James Parker Sushi, Northbridge

The let down for me was the Soft Shell Crab ($18) as it was a bit soggy and too salty. I think I should have chosen the Chicken Karaage instead.

Would I go again? I think yes.

I like that it offers a simple, easy, fresh sushi menu, in a cosy, yet modern setting.

The location is central, with lots of late night cafes and bars to move on to after dinner. The service is great and lots of parking options available nearby.

James Parker Sushi and Sake Bar
182 James St, Northbridge
(Corner of James and Parker Street in Northbridge)
www.james-parker.com.au

James Parker Sushi X Sake Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato