Daily Blog: Mini Golf Date & Lentil Sheppard's Pie!

Monday, 15 January 2018

Happy Monday!

So, it was a bit of a fail this morning. I got up at my usual 5.10am, convincing myself to get dressed and go to class. The program said we were going to be doing overhead squats (something I've been wanting to work on for ages.) Naturally I was already running late because I couldn't figure out how to get my side car mirrors to work.

I managed to get there just on 5.30am, ready to race inside when I find everyone is still waiting in their cars. No coaches had shown up, so we were all waiting to see what to do. I'm sure it's just a misunderstanding and at least I get an early start to the day!

I'm gonna make the most of my free time and read/discover new blogs. There's nothing I love more than a quiet morning to myself, hot coffee by my side, and a whole bunch of reading to do.

Favorite time of the day: Breakfast!
I treated us to some croissants yesterday and it has made my morning. I quickly fried up some eggs and added avocado. Sweet chili sauce inside them just made it perfect. Afterwards I pretty much fell asleep watching TV and napped for an hour. That early start caught up to me!

I was scrolling through Twitter when I people talking about the #GRLPOWR chat coming up and I got so excited because I haven't done a bloggers chat in so long.

I haven't eaten anything since my croissants at 8am, so I'm gonna quickly make a tropical protein smoothie. I just chucked in:
natural yogurt
coconut whey protein

It was just what I needed before going out for a run!

The chat is over and just in time for me to meet Mum. It's hot out so I should come back sweaty!

I actually prefer running when it's cooler out, but I will never be one to complain about a bit of sunshine. And I get more of a tan, so that's always a silver lining.

I had a super-quick tuna rice bowl for lunch and now we are off to play some mini-golf! It was all Steve's idea and I'm so glad we are getting out for a date. It's all themed around our city, Christchurch, and some of the historical buildings affected by the earthquakes. Just one of the many creative ways they have used empty lots throughout the city.

It was so cute and fun. And it turns out I'm not so bad at mini golf as I thought! Yours truly won the game, although I was proud of Steve for getting a hole in one. On one of the trickiest holes too.

Of course we had to walk down to the Margaret Mahey playground where they have food stalls. Steve spotted hot mini donuts for us (he's a keeper, I know.) I was also craving a real-fruit ice cream that I knew was there. Mango and raspberry sounds so good, right?

Look who has come around to spend some time with his big sister!

I'm making lentil Shepard's pie for my meal prep this week, no recipe to follow, I'm just making it up as I go. First step was to saute onions, peppers, and later some mushrooms with vegetable oil and garlic powder.

Then I added two cans of lentils and one can of chopped tomatoes. Then I chucked in all of my favorite spices: turmeric, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, and of course, salt. After letting all the flavors cook together for a while, all I had to do was transfer it to a baking dish and get started on my mash.

I always make it with the same ingredients (garlic powder, butter, salt, and a little milk.)

Time to go to CrossFit and I'm taking Bond with me. He loves watching people and being involved, so he will have fun too.

There was A LOT of overhead squats and snatches on the menu today. We started with some strength work of three heavy overhead squats. I was a little disappointed that I only got up to 30kgs, but I remember I've only done this strength once before,. My wrists obviously aren't going to be used to the weight yet. Still a victory.

Then the workout gave us some more practice. It was for time:

20 Power Snatches
20 Lateral Bar Burpees
20 Over-Head Squats
20 Lateral Bar Burpees
20 Snatches

Yes those snazzy pink lifting shoes are mine <3
I did the workout in an okay time and I went lighter to work on technique. The hot weather got me super-sweaty, so I decided to take Bond for a cool down walk before I headed home.

Of course the first thing I did when I got home was put cheese on my Sheppard's pie and wack it in the oven so I could eat it ASAP. I didn't taste it much when it was in the pan, but my god it's good! So happy with how it turned out. Super-filling too and it will fuel me well for tomorrow.

Bond went back home to Mum, so naturally Ollie knows he can come chill with me again. Steve had some friends come over, so I left them playing NBA and got some blog work done. We made the effort to do some stretches before bed too, a habit we will be keeping in 2018.  Not a bad way to start off the week!

How do you guys like the daily blogs coming back? A little blogger behind the scenes is always fun, right?

Hope you all have an amazing start to the week.
Steph x.

Six Blog Posts Worth Reading This Week

Friday, 12 January 2018

Hello Everyone! How is 2018 treating you so far?

I'm still loving all of the positivity coming up on my Twitter/Bloglovin'/Instagram feed. Everyone seems ready to make it their best year yet and I'm so digging it. Let's keep this motivation up all year, shall we?

I love supporting other bloggers and simply reading their posts is one of the easiest ways to do so. And whenever I do read an amazing post all I want to do is share it to make sure it gets the credit it deserves. These posts are one of my favorites to put together and hopefully it helps you guys discover some new favorites too. 

The Little Plum 

Thanks Chloe, I did need a little nudge actually. Careers are tricky, especially for those of us who want to make it big as content creators. Chloe tells how she was offered an incredible opportunity, but fear stood in her way. Something I think many of us have experienced. She tells a very honest story and you leave it feeling so inspired to kick some ass in 2018. 

Sophie's Make-Up 

A short and sweet blog post that seriously makes me want to write out my own (I think I will) and it's all about being wonderfully organized. I'm just sad I can't make my own trip to IKEA for new house bits and bobs! 


I can't explain how much I loved reading this post. It was funny and oh so realistic. I still think the photos she included are stunning and the stories behind them show the real side of taking blog pics in public. This post is simply brilliant. 

The Kitty Luxe

This post has legitimately changed how I'm approaching blogging this year. And not just blogging, but making something of myself in this community. She talks about having a signature voice that you are known for and is 100% who you are, as well as how she made it as a full-time blogger (spoiler alert* it was just A LOT of hard work.) I will take advice from this girl any day. 

Being Erica
The Vegan Diaries: Week One 

I heard the term Veganary being thrown around on Twitter a lot in late December/New Year and I honestly think it's a wonderful idea. It's a lifestyle that helps lower our impact on the planet, so I'm all for it. I was interested to see how bloggers were getting on with the experience and Erica has a detailed post at the ready. It would be really helpful to anyone else participating or just wanting to try out being vegan.

Natalie Leanne

It's so lovely seeing someone super-proud with their corner of the blogging world. I feel the same and it's a great feeling. This post is so worth the read for any blogger (or aspiring!) especially this time of year when we are all setting goals for 2018.

What blog posts have you loved this week?
Steph x.

Here's What A CrossFit Class REALLY Looks Like

Sunday, 7 January 2018

So, you've heard about CrossFit. Seen the Instagram photos, maybe a few memes here and there.  Maybe you even watched Fittest on Earth on Netflix. And it got you wondering if maybe it's the right move for you. The gym isn't enough anymore and you need to try something new. Something challenging, something exciting. 

But change and starting something new is scary. 

That's why I'm here. To show you guys that starting something new can be the best decision ever and it could send you on a path you never expected. I had no idea what would happen the first day I showed up for my trial class. Hell, I hardly knew what the CrossFit craze even was.

A typical affiliate gym (or box to use the CF term) will run classes throughout the day (mornings, midday, and early evenings.) You pick which ones suits you and then aim to show up five minutes before the class starts. Or in my case, frantically run through the door dead on time because I never learn to leave the house early enough.

You will be greeted by coaches and your fellow classmates that you'll see almost everyday. In our box, you'll be welcomed in a Squad and get to know the people you sweat beside. It can take time, but trust me there will be a lot of laughs in the mean time. Sometimes I still stand by myself awkwardly looking at my phone until we all get called onto the floor. That's when we get down to business. Each class is an hour long and it's always maximized for work and safety. 

The coach will call everyone over to the main floor where the workouts take place and you'll get to see the board that shows what's on the agenda for the day. You'll hear words like
WOD (workout of the day)
AMRAP (as many reps as possible)
Metcon (metabolic conditioning/the sweaty stuff)
EMOM (every minute on the minute)

Don't let these strange words intimidate you, it's all knowledge that comes over time and soon you'll be sick of hearing them. Stay familiar with the lingo and it'll become your second language.

After you've been told the workout, the whole groups then moves onto a nice warm-up. It's usually a run, rowing, or even some fun games like musical wall balls. These are never intense and it's just there to get your heart rate going and body warm before you stretch. Which we normally do a lot of, especially if the previous day was a tough one. After a few months you'll notice your flexibility getting better and you almost can't wait for the stretching portion of the class.

Before the workout can even start we go through the movements involved to get our bodies ready for what's to come. It's low reps, working with just a barbell and getting the right muscles nice and warm. But now comes the fun part where you get to work out what weight you're gonna go with for the workout.
 It's always the toss up of going heavy, but risking getting burnt out quick. Or going lighter to get through the workout quick. When you're new, lighter is best until you have the technique down. Now that I'm a year into it I try pushing myself to go heavier than my inner wimp is telling me, and nine times out of ten I never regret it. But if in doubt, always ask a coach.

So, you have your area set up, got your equipment with the right weight and you know what the workout is. Now's the time to get your mindset on what's about to happen. Feed off the adrenaline that's going through your body in the ten second countdown until it starts. This is my favorite part of the whole experience.

3, 2, 1, GO!

Everyone is focused on their own form and how many reps they're gonna do.

One round: that wasn't so bad.

Second round: Okay I'm getting sweaty now, and it's getting really heavy.

Third round: Not giving up. Only a few reps left, I'll break them up if I have to. I wanna finish under eight minutes, so I'm gonna push this last round.


And the workout is over, you made it through alive, and it probably feels amazing. There's about twenty seconds of silence where everyone catches their breath and lets their mind come back to earth. Then we all high-five each other and you tell certain people "You smashed that!" You wipe the sweat off your face and start putting your equipment away, feeling proud of what you just accomplished.

We all gather around the board to record our results for the workout. That's when the fun chatter begins. We talk about the workout, what was fun, what hurt, what we could have done better. Maybe give some advice to friends who have come for the next class.

In CF, everything is planned for you. You literally just have to show up, see what you're doing, listen to the coach and then go all out. At first you go with the flow of what everyone else is doing and eventually you gain your confidence.
It's an hour out of your day that you can challenge yourself and get fitter at the same time. And the best part? You can scale EVERYTHING. No matter your fitness level or if you have any existing injuries, there's options for everyone. No one has to feel inferior and there's no gym perves to check you out while you squat. It's a sport, a lifestyle, and it makes you feel awesome.

If you ever have any questions or concerns, I am more than happy to help in any way I can.
Hopefully it clears up the whole craze for you!

Have you ever wanted to try CrossFit?
Steph x. 

How I Will Become A Badass Cook In 2018

Saturday, 6 January 2018

I have a confession to make. 

In the past week I have watched Julie/Julia on Netflix almost everyday. Sometimes twice if there was nothing else I wanted to see. 

And I could still watch it ten times over again. 

It's one of those feel good movies, and how can you ever go wrong with the queen that is Meryl Streep? With the other main themes being two of my life loves (food and blogging) I find myself obsessed with this film. But the best part is that I am feeling so inspired. To eat, to cook, to blog, and to pick up more cook books. 

If you have never devoted two hours in your day to see the film, the gist of it is simple: Julie Powell decides to take Julia Child's most famous work and cook every recipe in a year and blog about it. In doing so she becomes a better person, and of course, she learns to master the art of French Cooking. We also follow Julia Child, the founder of modern-day cooking, through her days in Paris and how her cookbook masterpiece almost never was. Between her obsession with food and her adorable relationship with her husband Paul (played by Stanley Tucci) she may be my new favorite historical figure. 

Okay Steph, what does this have to do with the title of your post?

Of all the things I am obsessed with about this film, and there are many, it's about what happens when you make the time and energy to learn how to cook. And I mean cook like a goddess. Trying recipes that scare you or learning a new skill that the average cook won't know. I for one would love to master making my own hollandaise sauce that I can make on a Sunday over perfectly poached eggs. Or making Julia Child's famous Beef Bourguignon over a garlicky mash potato for when the in-laws visit. I want to be that mom that knows how to cook anything, the house always smells great around dinner time and all the neighbor kids want to come over for dinner. I don't even eat meat and yet I want to be able to cook it phenomenally well. 

My point is this: Julie and Julia have inspired me to be a better cook. 
Question is how will I go about doing it? That's easy, you take Julia Child's most famous piece of advice: "Learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun." 

I will aim to try a new recipe every week of the year. Through cook books, Pinterest, or other blogs.

I will pick recipes that scare me a little and teach me a new skill. 

I will go back to basics and learn the proper ways to cook and the science behind it. 

Cooking has always been a passion of mine for years and that's a good enough reason to learn as much as I can. 

Who's looking forward to lots of foodie posts in 2018?
Steph x. 

New Year, New Fitness Goals!

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Deepest apologies for the dirty mirror, I just don't often take pictures of myself I like. 

I'm always so in love with that new year feeling. Looking back on what I was able to achieve in 2017 (my first full year of CrossFit) makes me feel pretty proud. I hit some awesome weights, kept my cardio up, made it to the top three in the in-house competition, and it helped me complete a Spartan Race. And that was all with torn knee cartilage.

A fitness journey is exactly that: a journey. There's always bumps in the road and that's okay. If everything went perfectly would we ever learn? So this year I am going to keep trying, keep enjoying the process, and work hard at whatever is put in front of me.

My heavy lifting goals to check off by the end of 2018:

100kg Back Squat

70kg Clean

35kg Snatch

120kg Deadlift

70kg Clean and Jerk

CrossFit can be intense at the best of times and I think the hustle of it all can be hard to keep up with. All through December I struggled to stay motivated, and it's not like me to skip a class. It's also been hard this holiday season too because the class schedule has changed to just one at 9am. I don't get any time off work, so it's impossible to go to a class if I wanted to. But in just another week I can get back into the routine I've grown to love (just not the 5am wake up call.)

There's still so much to learn with CrossFit and so many firsts I still have to achieve. My first muscle up, first toes to bar, strict hand stand push ups, pistol squats, and mastering the hand stand walk. What a badass I will be! 

I think we all need to remind ourselves that fitness should be fun. Make it a challenge but enjoy the process every step of the way. That's gonna be my biggest goal coming into 2018, have fun with my fitness again. 

What are your fitness goals for 2018?
Steph x. 

365 Days Of Happy: December 2017

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Oh hello there 2018, you certainly crept up on us!

The past year has been so fun, tough at times, but worth every tear for where I am coming into this new year. I keep saying it over, but I'm so excited for what the future has in store for us. Before I get all soppy on you let's see what fun December was:

1. Nothing like that first  advent calendar chocolate of the month!

2. We picked up Bond from the doggie groomers and took him with us to get smoothies.

3. Birthday lunch with my family at my favorite spot we come to every year. The Chimichangas are to die for!

4. My 26th Birthday <3 Lunch with Mum, sweaty workout, and dinner with my love.

5. Came home from work and Steve had organized a birthday surprise for me that included Harry Potter Scrabble. 

6. We put our Christmas stockings up!

7. Completed the famous CrossFit workout "Murph" and smashed it!
1 mile run
100 pull-ups
200 pushups
300 air squats

8. This super-hot weather has me in a summery mood and I love it. 

9. Got some post-run aminos from the smoother bar we love and picked out my Christmas day outfit at H&M. 

10. Did an awesome Sunday workout at CrossFit with running and kettle-bells. I got the most rounds!

11. Celebrated Steve's birthday today! I made him a birthday surprise and we went to the beach for a picnic. 

12. Late night Indian dinner treat. Malai Koftas give me life.

13. Got to eat my lunch in bed the accidentally fell asleep. Felt good having a power nap!

14. Grocery shopping day :)

15. Did a lil Christmas shop for our boxes I'm putting together.

16. Finally saw the latest Star Wars movie! It was beautiful.

17. Had a great catch-up with my girls and made epic nachos for dinner.

18. Did a deadlift session in our home gym and managed to get up to 95kg (without my proper lifting belt too.)

19. Ollie the cat decided to play on the clothes horse while I was doing washing and made it into his own jungle gym. Too cute!

20. It's funny what happens when you take away a toxic person and your environment becomes enjoyable again. 

21. I put together our Christmas Eve boxes and bought a new Star Wars phone case for $5.

22. Christmas carols were playing all the way home from work and it was bliss. 

23. Had the BEST tropical smoothie, shopped for the boys Christmas outfits and had dominoes for dinner. 

24. Baked gingerbread cookies and made a trifle for the big day tomorrow!

25. Christmas Day! Annual run with Mum in the morning, a big brunch, and a hilarious game of Wii sports with the whole family. 

26. Super-productive yet lazy boxing day: cleaned the house, wrote blog posts, followed new bloggers and consumed a lot of leftovers.

27. Spent time writing out a reading wish-list for 2018!

28. Bought my new daily journal to stay organized next year, had delicious mushrooms on toast, and Mum bought me new running shoes!

29. Convinced Steve to watch Hocus Pocus with me and had a cheeky McDonald's dessert run.

30. Went to the local plant shop and had fun picking out some new flowers for my garden with Mum.

31. New Years was well spent with good friends and my favorite boy. Lots of laughs and a midnight trip to the park. 

That's it, a whole year of happy times recorded on my blog! Would you guys like me to continue this series or leave it here? Let me know in the comments.

I can't thank you enough for your support this year. Bring on 2018!

Steph x.