That Time I Had Foresight

It’s gotten to that point in the year where Mondays just seem to roll around so quickly already. The weekends are getting shorter (yes I am sure of it), and the week days longer somehow. Suffice to say I’m feeling more tired today than I did on Friday, prior to the weekend happening.

 

This last weekend found us gallivanting through the country and seaside, visiting family, playing board-games, enjoying a celebratory drink or two, and resting (yet to experience the after effects of this). When Mum announced a family get together in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast for the Sunday, my sister and I went into “action-spur of the moment-weekend away” mode. Accommodation was booked, meal plans were developed (yes, we’re that family), and entertainment sought.

Dressed custard tarts with strawberries and blueberries #custardtart #strawberries #blueberries #baking #dessert

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Unfortunately the weather wasn’t on our side, waking to a cool, drizzly morning on Saturday. The drive up to Alexandra Headland was through many a rain shower, however it was good to open the doors and look out onto the beach. There’s nothing quite like it is there? The rest of the day was spent winding down, having a long afternoon nap, preparing the mandatory beach Pimms jug, and playing some games. The familiar seaside diet of fish, chips and calamari (and the dreaded potato scallop – why do I always fall into its trap) was had, some more games played, and then falling to sleep to the sound of the ocean.

Having rained on the Saturday, waking to a slightly less overcast Sunday morning found us poolside for a quick dip (freezing), before tucking into some breakfast. We then headed up to Cooroy to see the fam, ate a lot more food, talked far too much, admired the rolling hills and beautiful environment, and went on a quick drive on the “mule” (mini-ute / four wheeler) to see some of my aunt and  uncle’s property.

Getting back to nature (for 4hours, that's something right?!) #Cooroy #sunshinecoast #hinterland #rollinghills #nature

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All too soon the weekend had come to an end. All too soon another load of washing was being put on. And all too soon the dreaded Sunday night feeling, of having to wake up and head back to work tomorrow, hit.

Time to hit this four day week hard (thank you most gracious RDO angels), start moving some more (have been incredibly slack since Christmas), and start planning the next weekend.

May your weeks go quickly, and be full of the right kind of challenges and joy.

pen.of.cait

Christmas Where The Gum Trees Grow

I’ve just crept in in posting a “Christmas That Was” post, before we hit February. Hi fives self!

Christmas this year was very different to last years (overseas in Austria, very blessed I know). We headed up to Mackay on Christmas Eve, and were instantly welcomed by the warmth off of the runway, and the wall of humidity, that can only truly be experienced/related to when flying to North Queensland.

Christmas Eve evening was spent with Theo’s family, lighting candles to make “Santa’s Runway”, followed by much food, much chasing children, and a great night’s rest.

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Something that I miss about being a child around Christmas time, is being taken to church (on Christmas Eve and Day). The excitement of our family packing into the van, arriving at church and singing carols, coming home to unwrap presents (Christmas Eve), or preparing for the drive to see extended family. Now that I’m apparently this fully fledged adult, the notion of creating our own Christmas traditions has hit hard, particularly this year.

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So looking back on the things that I loved as a child, we welcomed Christmas morning in at church, sung some carols, and celebrated the true reason for Christmas, Jesus.

The rest of the day was spent with family and friends, eating and preparing food, unwrapping presents, and achieving the “Christmas afternoon nap”. A fantastic, chilled, relaxing, Queensland Christmas indeed.

When we arrived back in Brisbane, normality begun to stick, minus the work (yippee), but including all of the important things in life: huge ice creams, bushwalking and swimming, and crafting.

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I’m hoping that you and yours had a blessed Christmas and was spent doing those things that are important to you. May your year be greater than the last, and many opportunities present themselves over the next days, weeks and months of 2016.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

pen.of.cait

The Week That Was

So Week Two came and went. Perhaps it’s justifying mistakes, or actually speaking the truth, but I’m not sold on the timing of starting the program. This last week had one too many dinners/lunches out, and celebratory eating sessions, which kind of made me throw the remainder of the week out of the window.

Things I found out. Routine works well for me. I’m a creature of habit. Always have been. Likely always will be. If there is a plan available, I am likely to stick to it. But the minute something shakes up the routine, I run screaming in the other direction, cream donut in one hand, a packet of chips in the other, not to mention the can of soft drink strapped to my leg.

Ok, so maybe not that bad, but a hiccup for me generally affects me for the worse. Exercise wise, the week started okay, however Aunt Urma came to visit, and with her, many excuses. Genuine excuses in my head, but probably not to Aunty Kayla. Going to bed with a couple of Panadol, heat pack, and in the foetal position, and then waking up to the same, can definitely cause a bandwagon derailment.

On the plus side, spent an active afternoon with my family (premature Christmas celebrations as we all spread out to opposing ends of the continent for the “Big Day”). Softball/tee-ball was played, runs were made, and shorts fit better. Hmm, maybe this program is working? But let’s not admit to that just  yet :p

Anyway, I’m not too hopeful for next week (Christmas / New Year). To be perfectly honest, I have written it off already, and am mentally trying to be responsible about eating snacks/healthy meals, getting a good balance of fruit and vegetables, and allowing for some activity.

See you in the New Year.

pen.of.cait

Put Your Back Into It 2.0

Do you ever have those projects, or things on your list, that you think, “Yeah I’ll get onto that. As soon as the time is right.” I certainly like to use that excuse, which is suitable for some commitments, and not so great for others. As I’ve been studying part time and working full time, for the last 18 months (only 6 months to go! Woohoo!!) I’ve always used this excuse for eating healthy and exercising.

It’s not that we eat junk food all the time, and don’t exercise, but not having enough time certainly is bandied about when we don’t have the energy to cook something nutritious, or get outside for 30mins. I jumped on the “I’ll get onto that in the New Year” bandwagon, and filed it away in the “for later” section of my brain.

And then I was approached to start a program right away by a good friend of mine, and I was overcome with stupidity motivation and said yes. What were you thinking Caitlyn (?!) has gone through my head maybe once or twice, when I’ve been up late making snacks for the next day, but otherwise have started strong.

We decided to go with the Kayla Itsines program, having heard relatively positive reviews and results from friends and the social media world. So jumped (or should I say lunged) on that bandwagon.

Week One is over and done with. And I must say I have mostly been impressed by the meals and exercises that we have had and done. Very infrequently was I hungry (a first for me because I have obviously been eating the wrong foods) and being kept accountable by another person has helped in sticking to the exercise routine. After not being able to walk after the first day, and my husband laughing at me as I pulled myself up our front stairs, I thought it was best if Isubjected involved him in the same torture greatness of the “abs and arms” routine. Suffice to say I’m feeling encouraged by the whole household wincing when we sneeze, cough, or just have to get out of bed. It’s great?! 

I know it’s only early days, but my mentality towards not having enough time is slowly dissolving away, having done something active every day last week, it all seems that extra little bit more achievable. I feel good, albeit tight. I’m generally sleeping better. And have more energy on the whole.

Onto Week Two! Bring on more squats, lunges, cycling and maybe swimming (but not the burpees, please no!). Hoping to see a difference between how I perform this week over last, and building some strength. 

If you’re on your own health journey I’d love to hear what has worked and what hasn’t.
Any top snack tips? Or ways to get out of bed earlier for exercise?
And how bout that post exercise deep sleep.

Reading: Monica Bloom, by Nick Earls

Monica Bloom.

Monica Bloom, by Nick Earls

This was my first Nick Earls book I’ve read, and I was not disappointed. Monica Bloom is set in Brisbane, following Matt Sherman’s final year at high school.

The novel is a brutally honest story of the common goings on of life as a teenager, what with the ups and downs of friendships and relationships with those at school and within the family. After each chapter I would sit silently, reflecting on the words I had absorbed, the stories that had torn at my heart, and physically feeling for these fictional characters. Perhaps it was the realness which was on every line, and the way Earls managed to turn the normalcy of teenage-dom, into something of beauty. Or perhaps it was the way which I, and I imagine most people, was able to relate to so many of the goings on, throughout the story.

What I would describe almost as a short story, was, in my mind, flawless. Albeit short, the characters’ development was not lacking, nor were the relationships that evolved, line after line, page after page.

I would describe the concept of the novel as a simple, teenage, reality. However the simplicity of the story and of the writing itself, was by no means a bad thing, quite the contrary. I was lead to feel what the characters felt, visualise their surrounds, and predict, yet still sympathise, with what each of their futures’ held.

As I sprinted through Monica Bloom, I found myself wanting more, mostly in the length of the novel, however not being displeased with the direction the book took, nor the ending it so fittingly became.

I was left wanting more from Nick Earls, and wondering why I hadn’t been introduced earlier.

Monica Bloom, by Nick Earls – 9/10

 

Health: Body & Soul Revolution Introduction

NOTE: This is not a sponsored post, but a mere challenge I’ve set myself. 

One of my many resolutions (an ongoing one shall we say) is to improve my health and well-being, particularly when it comes to feeling more energetic, sleeping well (one of my greatest hobbies), and having a more positive outlook, on the beast we call life.

Last year I participated in the ‘Body & Soul Revolution’, which was a 10 week program where I focused on improving my energy and losing a bit of weight along the way. It was a mostly positive experience where I did lose a bit of weight, and felt healthier and happier.

Over the past year I’ve generally maintained a healthy attitude towards food, however at times have fallen off the bandwagon. A similar story to exercise, where I get really really excited and determined, and after a couple of weeks lose all interest. I think generally the reason for backpedalling and/or giving up, for me, is the lack of results that I can visually see (and when I say see, read, what the scales tell me). I have however found a sport I enjoy, swimming, and therefore going for a walk/run has become more of a novelty than a chore now.

Morning swims #laps #griffithpool

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At the beginning of 2015 I received a registration email for the new Revolution program, and almost immediately trashed it. Its presence, however, sat in the back of my mind, just niggling away, and so I decided to give it another go. I mean, who doesn’t like having their meals (and snacks) and exercise regimes planned for them (especially at the beginning of the year).

Similar to last year, I’m hoping to improve my energy levels, but mainly lose weight, tone up, and develop a routine for exercising. I’m keeping with the variety is key theory, and have committed to doing yoga at least once a week, will swim at least three times a week, and go bush walking once a month. I’m hoping that with these little ‘resolutions’, I will have enough variety to look forward to, allowing me to keep at my little goals.

I’m also keen on changing my mindset on what is success when it comes to programs like this. Not to focus on the kg or %s on the scales, but to keep track of cms, energy levels, and strength (tickle fight training, here we come!).

Along the program I’m going to try to post a reflection of how my week has been. What has worked, what hasn’t, and I’d love for you to post ideas of how to stay motivated, little tricks you’ve discovered and are willing to share, and any delicious healthy snacks that you love.

Until next time,

pen.of.cait

Travel: Copenhagen, Denmark

Wow, Denmark, just wow! The only other time I’ve felt like this was when we visited Amsterdam in 2013. I guess the cities are similar in that they both are situated on waterways, but the people, the architecture, and just the general feel. I would move there in a heartbeat if it wasn’t on the other side of the world.

Copenhagen Canals

Copenhagen Canals

Disclaimer: most of my time in Copenhagen was spent sick (just a cold), and boy did it beat me around, and therefore I saw a lot of the hotel room, and the view (a construction site) outside of the window.

However the time that I did get up and walk around I just loved. I wouldn’t say Copenhagen is a toursity place, which was great, because I didn’t feel ‘pressured’ into seeing things for the sake of it. We instead, like with many of the incredible places we visited, wandered around, along the river and canals, around back streets, and just marveling at what a naturally beautiful place this is.

Copenhagen Canals

Copenhagen Canals

We did go to a couple of Museums, walked to Church of our Saviour (which we found out when we arrived there, that it is closed in the winter), and as I said before, did a lot of contemplating whilst sitting on the edge of the beautiful river, and admiring this beautiful city for what it is.

Copenhagen Canals

Copenhagen Canals

The food we had in Copenhagen was also incredible, probably the highlight of the trip. We ventured to a quaint French restaurant one evening, where complimentary tasters were continually offered, an American style place, where we had the most incredible cheesecake (and chai green tea – where can I find thee?!), and fantastic coffee wherever we went.

Copenhagen Riverwalk

Copenhagen Riverwalk

I’d love to go back to Copenhagen with a full bill of health, but also in the summertime, because I NEED to go to the old school amusement park. But all in all, for the time we spent there, we loved it.

Copenhagen – city of towers.

Copenhagen – city of cyclists.

Copenhagen – city of beauty.