food for the soul (and belly!)

Apologies for being so quiet for the last couple of months; life has been a whirlwind of moving house, weekend project deployments, catching up with family that are moving overseas, friends birthday celebrations, weekend adventures, starting bootcamp, eating sugar & grains (and not feeling bad about it, well maybe a little bad!) and generally just falling into bed exhausted each night with no time for blogging.

I’ve spent this past couple of weeks with some of the people who matter to me most; including a trip to the beautiful Kangaroo Valley in the Southern Highlands, small-bar hopping around my new neighbourhood, celebrating Raya festival and venturing out into the freezing early morning on my reinvigorated fitness regime. It’s made me appreciate winter while still longing for the not-so-distant spring!

Here’s a few pics of my recent adventures (taken from my instagram page, so excuse the low quality). I hope you’ve all been well and your life has been filled with great company, good wine and truffle fries…

New pad:

the building
the building
couch & artwork in the lounge room. plus Harley in a bowtie!
couch & artwork in the lounge room. plus Harley in a bowtie!
couch & dining room
couch & dining room
new bed; concrete grey linen
new bed; concrete grey linen

Kangaroo Valley with Jay, Jared, Pete, Mish & Sue

My good friend Mish is leaving Sydney to move to London. <sob> So we organised a weekend away in luscious Kangaroo Valley in the Southern Highlands; about 2.5 hours south of Sydney. ‘Roo Valley is pure Australian landscape perfection, and the holiday house we rented had a heated pool, wood fireplace, chef’s kitchen and was set on 2 acres with cows, horses, deer & all sorts of other Australian wildlife!

We drank, listened to music, talked, laughed, cooked, danced and made rackets of noise with no neighbours to complain. It was just what a weekend away with friends is all about!

Beautiful Kangaroo Valley
Beautiful Kangaroo Valley
the fields & resident cows
the fields & resident cows
Jay & I
Jay & I
lounge room in the house we rented
lounge room
Our group; Pete & Jay in the back, me in the middle at the back, Michelle on the left, then Sue and Jared
Our group; Pete & Jay in the back, me in the middle at the back, Michelle on the left, then Sue and Jared
Mish & I
Mish & I
family dinner!
Friday family dinner!
Saturday family dinner!
Saturday family dinner!
Pete's flaming zombie cocktails
Pete’s flaming zombie cocktails
my old fashioned cocktails
my old fashioned cocktails
Harley running the fields at dusk
Harley running the fields at dusk
making friends with the horses on the property
making friends with the horses on the property

Celebrating the end of Raya with the Williamsons

My friend Syaz is Malay-Muslim and wanted to introduce the festival of Raya with her new Aussie ‘family’. Think American Thanksgiving, but for Muslims as a weekend ‘open house’ to celebrate the end of Ramadan. It was a beautiful excuse to learn a new cultural holiday and hang out with old friends and make some new ones!

just some of the food Syaz made for Raya
just some of the food Syaz made for Raya
Erika, Syaz & me
Erika, Syaz & me

Small Bar Hopping

Having just relocated OTB (over the bridge) I have been feeling dislocated from my beloved Pyrmont. Although Crows Nest has a more suburban feel than Pyrmont, it still has a village vibe with lots of cute cafes & small bars…so we’ve been making our way through the list!

The Botanist
The Botanist

My new fave place! Located in Kiribilli this is such a cute & trendy bar/restaurant with a fantastic vibe, good cocktails and share food. We’ve been twice in the last month; first with Jared & Pete and then with Syaz & Brendon.

Foxtrot
Foxtrot

When I first walked past Foxtrot I thought it was a brothel!!! I had to google it to find out it was a funky hipster bar. I am in love. And Jay feels right at home.

my hipster husband Jay
my hipster husband Jay
The Small Bar
The Small Bar

Small Bar in Crows Nest is a sister bar to Small Bar in the City on Erskine St. It’s open late and has fairy lights and a good wine list. What more do you need?!

Farewelling my favourite Aunt

My Dad’s sister Lydia is my most favourite aunty. She’s only 10 years older than me and has been my aunty/big-sister/friend/mentor/partner-in-crime for as long as I can remember. We’ve never lived in the same city, but she’s always dropped everything anytime I’ve needed her (she once caught a bus all night, 7 months preggers, from Brisbane to Newcastle to be with me when I told my parents that I got suspended from school for doing something naughty!).

So her and her American molecular-biologist husband have decided to move to The States to be closer to his family for a while and so have been doing the farewell roadtrip to catchup with family and say their goodbyes.

They stayed one Friday night, we had predrinks at our place and then headed over to House of Crabs in Surry Hills. It was loud, it was messy & it was very very fun.

House of Crabs Boil Board
House of Crabs Boil Board

HoC

 

Girls Night! (“Christmas in July Sleepover” that had nothing to do with Christmas in July)

What happens when 10 grown women get together for a slumber party?  Well, that’s for me to know and you to imagine!!!

lots of drinking & giggling
lots of drinking & giggling

Getting my move on!

I started boot camp. It’s cold. So cold. And painful. I begin Whole30 on the 8th September (no alcohol, grains, processed food, dairy, sugar) for 30 days. My Melbourne friend Narelle is a Whole30 veteran and is going to do it with me to support me for the month!

boot camp starts here 6am
boot camp starts here 6am
but at least I get this view of the city (harbour bridge & tips of the Opera House)!
but at least I get this view of the city (harbour bridge & tips of the Opera House)!

Phew! That seems like an extremely busy couple of months! But now that I’m settled I promise to get my blog on more regularly!

peace! love melly
peace! love melly

signature2 - melly xox

 

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tightening the reins

Remember my New Years Resolution? Well it’s now March and I’m finding general life & eating fairly easy with the paleo way, however, I have noticed a few too many paleo treats creeping in and portion sizes creeping up, so I’m reading and listening to podcasts to realign myself. I have also let my regular intense exercise regime slip; mostly due to my ankle injury flaring up a bit but also because I’ve just been a little slack.

Time to tighten the reins!!!

PB21_Infographic_FINAL

ready to run | week of health & fitness

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For today’s post I thought I’d borrow something from Australian Women’s Health magazine Running Guide from their July 2013 issue.

Before I started 12WBT I couldn’t run 500m let alone 5kms. Although I now scale back and forth with the length and frequency of my runs, for some people running is an exercise that comes naturally and for others it can be really daunting. My friend and work colleague Phil is an insanely good runner. He naturally balances his eating with his exercise and has a runners body to prove it. This is a man who regularly knocks out 10kms in his lunch break in 50 minutes! My ultimate goal is to go running with him one day!

*********all text below from WFH mag*********

Haven’t run since high-school athletics? No sweat. (OK, well a little.) This workout plan designed by coach Jenny Hadfield, co-author of Running for Mortals, will help you build from a walk to a run. By the end, you’ll be able to run 30 minutes without stopping – and you’ll be showing off a rock-hard body under your shorts. Whether your goal is to run 5km or 10km, or drop some extra kilos, in one month you’ll be well on your way.

Your Plan: Run 30 minutes in 4 weeks

For all weeks:

  • Warm Up: 3 minutes. Start easy, progress to a power walk
  • Cool Down: 3 minutes. Gradually dial your pace down to an easy walk.
  • Frequency: Perform running workouts 3-4 times a week, every other day.
  • Cross Training: Add a total-body strength-training workout, and either yoga or pilates on 2 of your days off.

Week 1 – Get Outfitted

The two most important items of gear a runner needs are a supportive, high-impact sports bra and running shoes. Both can be found at your local running specialty store. Make sure they fit well: a poorly fitted bra can reduce breathing capacity and make your run feel more difficult. The wrong shoes can give you shin splints, knee pain and a host of other issues. Get fitted by the experts for these items.

Week 1 Runs

  • Warm-up
  • Run 2 minutes, walk 2 minutes
  • Repeat 7 times (28 minutes in total)
  • Cool down

Finish with Flexibility

Just 5 minutes of stretching and muscle-release exercises after your run is enough to maintain a healthy range of motion in your joints – and prevent tight muscles, which can lead to inefficient form and injuries. Use a foam roller to loosen up your shoulders, hamstrings, quads, calves and iliotibial bands (outer thigh). Also take a minute to stretch your chest and your hip flexors.

Week 2 – Monitor Your Breathing

Your running pace or speed ca vary every day because it’s based on a lot of variables: how you slept, food intake, stress, your (female) menstrual cycle, whether you went out last night…you get the idea. The easiest way to run at the perfect pace every day is to run by the sound of your breath. Take the talk test: if you can’t say the words to Happy Birthday out loud 4 times without gasping for air, slow it down. You should be able to hold a conversation while you run. Being out of breath and not being able to talk means that your running pace is too fast.

Week 2 Runs

  • Warm-up
  • Run 3 minutes, walk 1 minute
  • Repeat 7 times (28 minutes total)
  • Cool down

Think About Your Form

It’s normal to feel awkward during the first few weeks of running, even if you’ve run in the past and are starting up again. Begin every running segment on the right foot by thinking about good running form:

  • Head is balanced over your shoulders and focused forward, not down towards the pavement.
  • Shoulders are relaxed to allow your lungs to expand.
  • Arms are bent at the elbow about 90 degrees and swinging like a pendulum from your shoulders (elbows close to your body).
  • Hands are relaxed and not crossing over your belly button as your arms swing.
  • Hips are under your shoulders and stabilising your legs as they move under your body.
  • Feet are landing with short, light, quick strides under your hips.

Week 3 – Find The Fun

The best way to guarantee running success is to finish with a high-five moment. When you finish your workout feeling as if you can go just a little further, you feel a sense of pride, happiness and success – all of which lead to wanting to do it again and again. Running habits are created as a result of happy running moments, so try to keep it fun, rather than pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion.

Week 3 Runs

  • Warm-up
  • Run 4 minutes, walk 1 minute
  • Repeat 6 times (30 minutes total)
  • Cool down

Work On Your Stride

A common mistake that many runners make is covering too much ground with every step. That’s a bit like climbing stairs two or three at a time – it takes a lot more energy and the impact on your body is much greater. Aim for short, quick strides and a turnover rate (the number of steps you take in  1 minute) of 180. To figure out your turnover, count the number of times your left food hits the ground in 1 minute and multiply by 2. To increase your turnover, match your stride to music that’s about 180 beats per minute.  You can download mixes at this speed, and others, at rockmyrun.com.

Week 4 – Learn To Listen To Your Body

If you start to feel aches and pains that don’t go away after a few days, it’s time for active recover with lower-impact activities like cycling, swimming and the cross trainer. In most cases, minor aches will heal with a few days of TLC. Aches may also be a sign you’re pushing too hard. Ease up a bit, and you’ll continue to improve without injury.

Week 4 Runs

  • Warm-up
  • Run 5 minutes, walk 30 seconds
  • Repeat 6 times (33 minutes in total)
  • Cool down

Ebb And Flow

Running is like life: there will be rockin’ fun workouts and also runs that humble you. You’ll make the most gains when you run based on how you feel on any given day. On days when you feel great, take advantage of the opportunity to push a little harder or run a little longer. That way, when rough days come along you can ease back on the throttle and still make progress.

Week 5 And Beyond

Building your running regimen by adding 3-5 minutes to your workout time and decreasing your walking time every 1-2 weeks until you reach your goal.

*************************************

bootylicious | week of health & fitness

I am loving this set of exercises aimed to tone the butt and core. Performed barefoot with 10 slow reps of each exercise; 3-4 times per week. Perfect to do in your house before anyone gets home (looks a little weird)!!!

wall-bridge-600x450

Wall Bridge

Lie on your back with your butt against the wall and arms at your sides. Bend your knees and plant your feet 3 to 4 feet up the wall. Raise your lower and middle back off floor, keeping your shoulder blades on the ground. Hold for a deep inhale, then exhale and slowly return to the starting position.

MAKE IT HARDER


Cross your right ankle over your left knee so that only your left foot is on wall.

MAKE IT EASIER


Don’t use the wall. Keep your feet flat on floor as you lift into a bridge.


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Windshield Wipers

Lie faceup on the floor with your legs against a wall, the bottoms of your feet facing the ceiling. Slowly lower your left leg down the wall like a clock arm toward 9 o’clock, then return to the starting position. Repeat with right leg, sweeping toward 3 o’clock. Continue to alternate legs until you’ve completed all of the reps.

MAKE IT HARDER


Wrap an elastic exercise band around your left foot. Hold both ends at your right hip for added resistance as you sweep your left foot down the wall. Do all reps, then switch legs and repeat.

MAKE IT EASIER

Move your butt 3 to 6 inches away from the wall while performing the move.


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Toe Reaches

Lie on the floor with your heels pressed against the wall, your legs straight. Reach your right hand toward your left foot, allowing your right shoulder to raise off the floor. Return to the starting position. Repeat with your left hand and right foot. Continue to alternate until you’ve completed all reps.

MAKE IT HARDER


Perform the exercise with your feet stacked toe to heel.

MAKE IT EASIER


Reach toward your knees.


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Wall Scissor

Begin with your butt close to the wall, knees bent, and your feet planted on the wall. Raise your hips up, and place your elbows on the floor and your hands on your hips to support your lower body. Walk your feet up the wall so that your legs are straight. This is your starting position.

From here, lower your left leg toward your head, keeping both legs straight. Return to the starting position and repeat with your right leg. Continue to alternate until you’ve completed all reps.

MAKE IT HARDER


As you lower your leg, pause and pulse 2 or 3 times, moving it up and down an inch or two, before returning it back to the wall.

MAKE IT EASIER

Start with your hips 3 to 6 inches away from the wall.

knee-press-600x450

Knee Press

Lie on your back with your butt against the wall, knees bent, and feet planted 3 to 4 feet up the wall. Raise your butt and back off the floor and cross your right ankle over your left knee. Without moving the rest of your body, pulse your knee toward the wall 20 times. Lower your body, and repeat on your left side.

MAKE IT HARDER


As you press your knee, lift and lower your hips a couple of inches with each rep.

MAKE IT EASIER


Do the move with your butt on the floor.


Pictures & Content from Prevention

gotta get up | week of health & fitness

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What gets you up and out the door in the morning for your early workout?

I know not everyone does their exercise in the morning, but for me if I don’t get it done before I go to work, chances are pretty slim that I’ll get it done later in the day. Exercise guru Michelle Bridges always says that it doesn’t really matter when you workout, as long as you do it, but it’s better to do it first thing in the morning before “life” gets in the way. I agree!

I get up in the morning for 2 reasons;

  1. because my love of food means I have to workout.
  2. because I have a little dog named Harley who needs to go for a run before we leave him for the day, otherwise we’d come home to a house destroyed!

I’m lucky that I live in a beautiful suburb where my morning jog is along the gorgeous Sydney harbour. I don’t take my iPod because I love the early morning quiet. It’s just a time to detox from the busy city life.

Here are my top tips to make getting up at the crack of dawn just a little bit easier:

  • go to bed early. It’s almost impossible to get up at 5.30am if you’ve only had 6 hours sleep. I make sure I’m tucked away in bed by 10.30pm. That means that the TV is off by 9.30pm!
  • layout your workout gear before going to bed. It’s way easier to fumble around in the dark (and the cold in winter) when your stuff is on the floor next to your bed.
  • prep your breakfast and lunch the night before. That way your when your workout is over, you’ve had a shower and gotten ready for work, your breakfast is easily prepared and you can grab your lunch and head out the door. On schedule!
  • have a backup plan so if it’s raining you can still workout; at the gym, with a workout DVD in your lounge room or like me, out the door in a raincoat!

Hope this helps you on your workout tomorrow!!! And I’ll leave you with a few photos of the views I enjoy on my early morning workout adventures… 

chasing pavements
chasing pavements

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nothing but fog....winter settles in around the harbour
nothing but fog….winter settles in around the harbour
before sunrise; a view of the city
before sunrise; a view of the city
after sunrise; a view of the city
after sunrise; a view of the city
welcome sailors! a cruise liner on it's way into port
welcome sailors! a cruise liner on it’s way into port

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view from Barrangaroo
view from Barrangaroo
my little workout buddy; Harley
my little workout buddy; Harley & his stick

Happy Monday!

a week of health & fitness!!!

weekoffitness

get ready for it!

a whole week of health & fitness posts

something to motivate and inspire you (and me)
and get us both moving!

it’s winter here in Sydney and I’m starting to use that snooze button a little longer than usual. lucky I have Harley who helps get me out of bed while it’s still dark but I’m always on the lookout for inspiration.

whether it’s scrolling Pinterest, reading fellow bloggers food & exercise posts or dog-earring fitness magazines, I thought I’d dedicate an entire week to motivating us all to eat a little better and exercise a little more!

watch out for the first post Monday 17th June

this week | in instagram

IMG_20130224_153624 making Skinny Cow icecream into a pretty treat! IMG_20130224_154113 (1) circa 2010 @ South Coast Bawley Beach; Harley’s first trip away IMG_20130225_210054Jay, my hot Monday night date;
late dinner after seeing an FBiRadio presents ‘The Imposter’ movie IMG_20130226_221222Amber!!! Had to take this picture of Amber Valletta for Coach at the QVB on George St to send to my friend Tam. Amber & Shalom were our supermodel heros in the 90s!  20130226220559155 Feb dinner club with E & Neen at Mexico Surry HillsIMG_20130226_213321 thanks for the pretty paper stars (that I won’t be shredding) Aunty Sheela!!! IMG_20130228_070833 sunrise over beautiful Sydney during my morning jog IMG_20130228_071608 running stairs with Harley IMG_20130302_083244 little monster – Harley IMG_20130301_070652my favourite boat ‘Poppy’. I want. I will also be using this boat to escape the zombie apocalypse (hope the owners don’t live close)! 
IMG_20130227_072741 early morning boxing IMG_20130301_130116 my husband’s cool ensemble IMG_20130301_082421 this week’s Friday Flowers! Australian Natives. IMG_20130301_090040 hello friend. made by Tino @ Mano Espresso IMG_20130302_154251 a well deserved Dirty Grey Goose Martini on Friday night at Darling HarbourIMG_20130302_072608 get ready for colour & debauchery Sydney!!! Mardi Gras!!! IMG_20130302_104549 Saturday Pyrmont Grower’s Market in the rain IMG_20130302_162137 my skincare routine for the last 6 years…it’s the only skin I’ve got so I’m going to take damn good care of it! IMG_20130302_162815 my makeup ritual IMG_20130302_130653 50 shades of grey Sydney style… weekend of wet weather IMG_20130302_152750I finally hung my recently purchased artwork in our bedroom.
The three paintings are by a Swiss artist named Cristina B.
[contact via @CristinaBStudio on twitter]IMG_20130302_203534 Saturday night simple pasta for my date home alone with the couch
& Xbox Live movies!!! I will not admit to eating half a packet of skittles!!! IMG_20130303_160735 “I was going to be good Mummy but there were too many other options”!!! Harley the cavoodle
IMG_20130303_154731Sunday brunch at FFF Glebe.
Mango smoothie & pumpkin, walnut, chicken salad.

How was your week???

signature2 - melly xox

fitspiration friday | metanoia

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This week Ive been hitting the workouts hard with Michelle Bridges 12WBT program.

It feels amazing to be back on the plan; I respond really well to a structured fitness & nutrition program.

Hope you’re all having a great Friday & work off all that Valentine’s chocolate!  Me? I was a (mostly) good girl & didnt have any (except a mini cheesecake bite – only 152 calories)!

♥♥♥