Autumn Reflection

As you may, or may not have noticed, things have been a little quiet around here the past few months. Once my backlog of blog posts ran out, I kind of, lost it.
At this time of the year, I find that I can almost become another person. My mood changes and I generally just feel a bit dull. I think they call this SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder but you know what, that’s okay. It really hasn’t been that bad, I think I just do not respond well to the cold weather & the sun going down at about 4pm!

However, things haven’t been all bad so lets recap the past season and see what I have really been up to!

Jose Gonzalez in Concert

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This was something that happened way back in March! but even now when I think about it, it has for sure been a highlight. We did go and see him once before when he played at the Melbourne Zoo twilights but this was so much better and more personal. There was even an hour of Q&A which we attended beforehand, such a treat!

If you haven’t heard of Jose, or listened to his music, go ahead and have a listen. Its really something quite beautiful & different.

Living in Activewear

Probably the biggest change in the past few months has been that of my day to day. I went from a 9 to 5 office job to completely changing my career and jumping into the world of health and fitness. It was something that I had wanted to do for so so long but didn’t have the nerve to, but finally after much contemplation, I did it and I love it! Weirdly enough, the thing about this I thought I would love the most, living in active wear, has become my least favourite part. Literally no one enjoys pulling on uncomfortable tights at 5am… and there have been a LOT, of 5ams…

Taking my love of Reformer to the next level

& starting a Pilates Reformer course at Elixr School of Pilates.
Because isn’t that was everyone does when they love something that much?
Probably not, but hey ho, that’s what I did and it has been quite the uh… experience. The course itself is very intense and the face to face component is only 5 weekends with the rest being self taught so a liiitttle out of my comfort zone. But so far, so good. Its been really strange to study again that’s for sure and I have definitely had my ups, and downs and moments of ‘whatthehellamIdoing’ but its all part of the fun! I can’t wait to actually be a qualified instructor as I do have some big plans once the exam is over.
Watch this space

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No-Makeup, Makeup

For so long, I was the person who wouldn’t step foot into my workplace with out a full face of makeup on. Part of my morning routine was getting up 20 mins earlier just to be able to do so. Let me tell you, once I started starting work before 6am that went right out the window.
But I am actually really enjoying it.
It has made me more conscious of my skin in both good and bad ways. In the good ways it has made me really stick to my skincare routine & has somewhat stopped me eating chocolate everynight (because no one needs those sugar pimples) but in the bad ways I really do notice every imperfection my skin has, so i’m having to come to terms with that, which I guess is also a good thing right…
So all I have really been using is my trusty Maybelline Instant Age Rewind, L’oreal Baby Roll Mascara & my Benefit Goof Proof Eyebrow Pencil. And thats it. So simple and easy when its 4:45am!

Walking & Podcasting

This year has really been the year for podcasts. I feel like they are really making a break and you can literally find something for everyone. One of my goals at the beginning of the year was to spend my time walking, being productive instead of just listening to the same Spotify playlist over and over (which I still do sometimes).
So these are some of my favs & ones I would reccommend:

  • Lower your Expectations
  • Talking Tastebuds
  • The Healthcode
  • Wheybox Podcast
  • Ladies who Lunch
  • The Heart of it

This is quite an interesting range, all quite different really but they are what get me through my early moring walk to work without too much fuss.

 

And that’s about it. Autumn for me is definitely one of the more uneventful seasons of the year/ I have been so crazy with all things as above. I will try and keep on top of my blog throughout winter! Especially considering the cold weather gives me a great excuse to sit at home under the heatpump!

 

5 Summer Highlights & Photo Diary | 18′

Travel, Friends, Family, Food & a whole lot of sun!

 

 

Summer this year has been one of my favourites in a while! I feel like for one I actually spent enough time outside, went to the beach more often, caught up with my friends and actually visited my family in NZ.

Summer is by far one of my favourite seasons… for at least the first 2 months, then the heat starts to get too much and you start dreaming about coats and scarves. However, for those 2 months, it is BLISS. Only having to wear one layer

 

 

NZ
Because I wasn’t able to go back to NZ for Xmas this year, I decided that it would be worth going back for a long weekend to see the fam. Let.me.tell.you. Arriving at my grandparents at 1pm after travelling for 15hrs really made me question whether it was worth it for 4 days! However, I always love going back and seeing (mostly) everyone, even if it is brief.

Tennis
This summer, finally, Dietmar and myself have taken up tennis. We have lived in an apartment building for the last 3 years with a tennis court & never made the most of it. Well, times have changed.

Now, I am not great, or even good, at tennis and have lost many a ball over the fence (and thanks to trespassing laws, never to be seen again) however, I really, really enjoy it. Not only does it require a bit of exercise, its been a fun activity for us to do together.
I like this Sunday tradition, hopefully we can stick at it for the foreseeable future and my new years goal of ‘starting a sport’ can be ticked off.

Market Shopping
Market shopping can be a bit hit and miss for me. I do love going to the market on a Sunday… but because of the sheer amount of people that also love it, if you aren’t in and out by 10am, you are in for a whirlwind of 100sss of people. However, generally even if its a bit later we have been going anyway. It works out to be a lot more affordable, we like to support local producers and the quality of the fruit and vege is so much better than the supermarket. They also have a lot more affordable organic options which is a huge bonus!
A highlight of our market shopping each week is stopping by Clement Coffee Roasters for a long black and sometimes a cheeky pastry! Check them out too.

Beach
This summer we have definitely made more use of the beach than before. We do live semi close by so we really don’t have too much excuse! But this year I have made an effort to at least try and get down every now and then to soak in some sun, enjoy the sea and watch all the dogs (Screw people watching, dog watching is THEONE).

 

 Being More Active & Meeting Two Inspirational Fitness/Health & Sustainability Dreamboats
This summer has been the first summer… ever. that I have managed to stick to a fitness routine and keep active for the whole season! Seriously proud of myself for that one. My diet as such, has not been perfect but I am trying! I eat a very balanced diet (IMO) and am happy with where I am at (minus the digestive problems but mate, that’s a whole other post).

 

However, this summer I was lucky enough to meet Zanna Van Dyk & Steph Elswood whilst they were on a whirlwind tour of Australia and it was great! They are both so lovely, welcoming and really down to earth. You don’t feel like you are going to a meet-up, more just hanging out with friends! It was so cool. (On another note, Zanna has an amazing blog which you can find here)

Home Made Iced Coffee
This for me has become a solid summery weekend drink. I love coffee, probably far too much.. and am not ready to kick the addiction just yet! but to mix it up I started making an iced version which is DELICIOUS.
Ingredients:
Coffee (Instant or brewed shot of espresso)
Ice – Loads of ice
1 Frozen Banana – Its important that its frozen.
Unsweetened almond milk (or regular milk if that’s your jam)
You could add Stevia/ Coconut Sugar etc if you like it sweeter.
How to: 
Put all ingredients in a blender (minus some ice for later) and MIXX.
Enjoy with the extra ice and a reusable straw with some coconut sugar sprinkled on top (if you are the ultimate environmentally friendly health wanker like myself)
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This summer has seriously been so great! I was happy, fulfilled and just generally in a great place! I am now (kindof) looking forward to the colder weather! (but I will miss my tan!) Bring on the coats and scarves! What was your favourite part about summer this year? And if you are in the northern hemisphere… what are you looking forward to??
 Leave a comment or find me on Instagram and here, Facebook and Twitter.
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Living A Healthy Lifestyle and Finding YOUR Healthy

Focus on yourself, not everyone else

 Being healthy nowadays is such a relative term. What one person deems to be healthy can be completely different to someone else, and to someone who is just starting out trying to become healthier, it can be really overwhelming!

 As someone who has spent the last 5 or so years trying my hand at every diet and ‘lifestyle’ on the market and managing to come out the other side with good and bad experiences, I thought I could give a few handy tips on becoming a healthier, fitter and happier.

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Ditch the diets
I think this one is the most important. The best way to become healthier is to really just go back to basics. Try and get into a solid routine of having a good breakfast, lunch and dinner with minimal processed foods as well as a couple of healthy snacks in between if you feel like you really need it.

Find what exercise works for you
Just because someone tells you that running is the best exercise, doesn’t mean it is. For them it may be, but for you it probably isn’t. Trial and error is your best friend! Try everything you can! Bootcamp, swimming, weight training, pilates, yoga.. there are so many options. It’s important to try out as many things as you can until you find what you enjoy. Don’t just do something because it burns the most calories. Do it because you love it and eventually you will start to feel better and mental & physical results will follow.

Listen to your body
This one is hard and has taken me SO long to get right. It goes for food and exercise. Food wise, if you are following some kind of plan and that plan tells you that you have to eat at 3pm, but you really don’t feel like it, then don’t. Your body can tell you when it is hungry and when it is not. Exercise wise, it is important to recognise the difference between really not wanting to go for your workout and your body telling you that you have done enough. That takes time. But same goes; if you wake up and really do feel far too tired to go for that run, then maybe just go for a walk or stay home and stretch and see how you feel afterwards.

Quality workouts over quantity
Instead of trying to work out 6 times per week and potentially running yourself into the ground, start with 3 workouts a week where you try your absolute hardest and see how you feel. The following week you might be able to add in an extra one.

 Start small
Small changes can make the biggest difference.
I think it is so important not to go all or nothing. 90% of the time you end up burning out after a couple of weeks rather than making it a long term thing. You don’t have to completely change your lifestyle overnight, (if you have, then seriously, good for you) , you are allowed to take time. Doing small things like getting your exercise up by going walking at lunchtime or drinking one extra bottle of water in a day, or cutting out the sugar in your coffee really makes a difference over time.

 Find something positive in every day
Life is just one big annoying mind game and sometimes it can feel really overwhelming. At times like this I like to take a breath and just think of things that I am grateful for or something positive that has happened in my day, even if that is something really small such as appreciating that delicious coffee that gets you through that Monday afternoon.

Keep accountable
If you are really struggling with feeling unmotivated to go to the gym or are having self control issues in the food department, keep accountable to someone or someones’. Whether that’s booking into a class at the gym with a friend or using an app such as Snapchat or Instagram to send pictures of your meals to your bestie. These things can help you to make better choices overall.

Don’t beat yourself up, just try again tomorrow.
Changing your lifestyle generally doesn’t happen overnight. Give yourself time. In the great scheme of things, that extra meal you had is not going to matter. That pizza you ate, or that workout you missed, isn’t going to destroy your progress. You really just need to give yourself time. You are human, we all have bad days, so eat that pizza, it is completely normal.

When it comes to health & fitness, everyone is different. What works for someone, won’t work for someone else. Or it might, for a while. But to be a healthy and happy person overall, you need to find what works for you, what YOUR healthy is.

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Please note: I am not a qualified Dietitian, Nutritionist, PT or Health Coach. Please contact a professional if you would like in depth advice on anything mentioned.

The Ultimate Nutty Banana Muffin Recipe

Because Banana Bread requires far too much self control

I made these muffins as a ‘lunchbox’ snack, to beat that afternoon lull that we all love.. They are full of only good ingredients & are so delicious. They are also fairly versatile and can be personalized depending on how you are feeling that week.

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Ingredients:

1.5 Cups Spelt Flour
3 TBSP Coconut Sugar
1 tsp Baking Powder

3 Eggs
3 TBSP Coconut Oil
Splash Vanilla Extract
3 Overripe Mashed Bananas

9 tsps Nut Butter

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius fan bake.

Mix the Flour, Coconut Sugar & Baking Powder together in a large bowl
– I use a whisk to mix these ingredients together as it distributes them better

In a small pot, heat the coconut oil enough to melt it but don’t let it get to hot and bubble or start spitting.

Mash the bananas and add these into the dry ingredients along with the eggs & vanilla extract.

Lastly mix in the coconut oil. At this point you will be able to tell whether the mixture is too runny or thick. If it is too runny, add in extra flour 1tsp at a time until the mixture gets to the right consistency. If it is too thick, add in milk a little at a time until it gets to the right consistency.

Fill muffin cases half way & add 1 tsp of Nut Butter in before filling the cases to the top.

Bake for 20-25mins or until a fork comes out clean.

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These muffins come out fluffy, soft and delicious. To change up the recipe, instead of using nut butter, you could always add in chocolate chips, berries or even just some chopped nuts.

If any of the ingredients in this recipe look unfamiliar or you don’t have them, feel free to comment and I can give you some recommendations for substitutions.

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Roasted Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Soup Recipe

For anyone new here, I will put my hand up… I. Hate. Winter.

For me, there are two good things about Winter. Soup and the fashion (Coats, Scarves, Boots…). You would think that considering I am a winter baby, I would be all about it. but I have come to realise that this definitely not the case!
I can not stand that it is dark by 5pm. It’s cold. It rains a lot. The days just feel shorter. But anyway…

ROASTED SWEET POTATO AND PUMPKIN – SERVES 6

This is probably one of my all time fav winter soups and its super quick and easy to make.

1/2 Whole Pumpkin Ground Spices (Cumin, Pepper, Salt, Smoked Paprika, Coriander)
1 Large Sweet Potato 2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 Carrot 1 Zucchini
2 Onions 2 Vegetable Stock Cubes
2 Garlic Cloves 165mls Coconut Milk (Optional)

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Step One:  Preheat oven to 180C fan bake & Boil a jug fill of Water Step Two: Chop Pumpkin and Sweet Potato, spread on a baking tray and drizzle over olive oil and add spices of choice.
Step Three: Cook Pumpkin and Sweet Potato for approx 40mins (turn half way) Step Four: In a large soup pot, saute Onion, Garlic, Salt & Pepper
Step Five: Grate (or chop) Carrot & Zucchini and add to the soup pot Step Six: Once the Sweet Potato & Pumpkin have finished roasting in the oven, take out and add to the soup pot
Step Seven: Add in the boiling water along with the 2 stock cubes (If you had fresh herbs such as Rosemary or Thyme, you could add these in here too) Step Eight: Put a lid on the pot, turn down to a low heat and simmer the soup for 30 minutes to an hour (30 mins if you are in a hurry, longer if you have time).
Step Nine: (Optional) Add in the Coconut Cream. Step Ten: Once you have taste tested and added more salt and pepper if needed, BLEND. You can do this in an actual blender or with a stick blender (I would recommend option B).

 

WARNING: Blending hot soup can be really dangerous! So if you have time, wait for it to cool down before blending. If you can’t wait, please be careful.

Serve with some fresh sliced bread toasted under a grill and spread with Garlic or topping of choice. If you have some Sesame or Pumpkin Seeds, toast those up and put them on top too!

TIP:
If for some reason you have made the Soup too salty, you can always boil some potatoes to add into the soup – as you may not know this until the end of the process, it would extend the time it takes to make the soup, however, it will save the soup instead of having to start again!

If you try the soup out, let me know how it goes! If its good, share it with Friends and Family – It’s a great excuse to get everyone around on a Sunday for Lunch or as a Starter for Dinner.

NOTE: I am not qualified in Nutrition or anything of the kind (Yet… ;), I just love food and creating recipes!

 

Fitness, Lifestyle and Food Favourites

In the past few months, my Fitness, Lifestyle and Food Choices have changed slightly. Its hard to explain why, in a few words, so instead I will tell you about a few of the best things I have discovered and fallen in love with during this time.

ACTIVE WEAR

Tights

I mean, who doesn’t love colourful workout gear right? Sure, they might not be the most flattering but who cares! I have become slightly obsessed with Workout Tights. Sure, I love buying Tops, Sports Bras, Shoes etc but tights are my favorite. The ones pictured above are the one’s I am currently loving. They range from ‘expensive’ to ‘affordable’ but I personally think some of the cheapest workout gear I own is the comfyest! I good chunk of my gear is from Cotton on Body with a few other things here and there from New Balance, Puma, Big W, Kmart etc.

VIRGIN ACTIVE

My Gym. This gym is amazing. Weights Rooms, Pool/ Sauna/ Spa, Classes, a Climbing Wall, Amazing Trainers! The list goes on. (I won’t go on about it too much here because I am going to do a full post/ review in the near future about it. But I still have to mention it.) It has changed my perspective of gyms and because of this gym I have become a person who enjoys and looks forward to my gym sessions.

I never thought I would become this person, before joining Virgin. If you are looking for a new gym, keep a look out for my post as I will try my best to convince you that this is the gym for you! Sure, it may not be the cheapest, but in my eyes, its the BEST.

YOGA

I love Yoga.

I go to Yoga once or twice a week, and I have been doing this for 4-5 months now. I started because I wanted to become stronger, increase my flexibility and just generally try something new. I never imagined I would become a full blown addict. I have 100% become more flexible and stronger and If I am not doing Yoga in a class at the gym, I am doing it at home.

My go to type of Yoga is Vinyasa Flow. This is a more active Yoga compared to some others but its the one I have gone back to time and time again. I have also found with Yoga, that a huge part of enjoying the class is the instructor. The way it is taught, how they interact and the voice of the instructor makes a huge difference (well for me anyway). I could go on and on about this but I shall leave that for its own post.

MEAL PREPPING

A few of my Kitchen Essentials
A few of my Kitchen Essentials

The last little while (Lets be real, its been on and off for a long while) I have become more and more aware of what I am eating/ what agrees with me and what doesn’t. During this time I have discovered a few of my must have’s in the kitchen.

First would be a Clean Protein Powder. Its so universal. I use this for Baking, Making pancakes, Smoothies and Pre-workout snacks. Secondly would be Chia Seeds. The list of benefits for these are endless. I put them in smoothies, on salads, in baking etc etc. Such a great source of healthy fats and good for keeping you fuller for longer.

Eggs and mushrooms have been a solid breakfast for me recently (with the odd smoothie int here somewhere). I find that eggs, and some kind of vegetable, whether that’s, mushrooms, spinach, courgette etc is the kind of breakfast that gets me going and keeps me full in the morning. It has definitely been a favourite.

Lastly, Meal Planning. I think it is so important for living a healthy lifestyle. It keeps you on track, and helps you make a list for the coming week. Its so much easier to know what you are having in advance and it means that if you are trying to be healthy, there is a less likely chance of slipping up and having fast food for dinner.

WATER

I have become so good recently at drinking water! Which is huge for me as I have always struggled to drink it without it being a chore. I realized that having a cute drinkbottle sitting next to me has made me drink more water without thinking about it and on those days where I really just don’t feel like it, I will add a fruity tea bag/ Lemon / Lime to flavour it and I am good to go.

The benefits of drinking water are endless. Just do it a little bit at a time and see/ feel the difference.

INTERIOR DECORATING

The makings of a house becoming homely.

I have recently become obsessed with our one house plant. Its a ‘Fruit Salad Plant’ (Featured in above pictures) which we never knew would grow so big (Getting a new pot for it soon, it will soon be a floor plant as it takes over half the table!) and everyday it seems to grow a bit more. It makes the house become a bit more alive and fresh.

My fav scent of candle currently is Vanilla & Caramel. It just smells so good! and sweet and lovely!

I feel like this blog post could go on forever but I shall leave it here. I hope you have somewhat enjoyed reading about a few of my favourite things. I enjoyed writing it!

Please leave below any questions regarding things I have mentioned. Tell me a few things you are loving!

Until next time,

Tracy

Welcome!

IMG_20170805_123339The idea of starting a blog has been following me around like a bad smell, for months.

I am in my last semester of my undergraduate degree and thought, what the hell, why not. I need a new hobby and this could be a lot of fun.

As I discussed the idea with friends about beginning this blog the top question asked: “What will it be about?”, My answer was simply, everything.

I love things such as beauty, healthy food, Travel and Cooking, Shopping, Books, and other kinds of fun and random things, so this is where I shall begin.

This may possibly turn into a blog about my (and my partners) cat,

but I will try my best to keep this from happening. I am hoping to post about once a week, but am not promising anything.

I know from all the blogs I read that there are plenty of blogs like this out there, but maybe mine will end up being a bit different, we shall see.

Now that the introduction is done and dusted, watch this space for a haul which will be posted in the next few days.

 

Much love,

Tracy