Monday, December 31, 2012


Some years ago, Bike Boy gave me a copy of Gorgeous Skin in 30 Days. He came across it somewhere and thought it was exactly the kind of thing I'd like. Which it was. I read it, thought it was full of good sense and then put it on the bookshelf, where it remained, gathering dust. I figured I'd get around to doing the 30 day program... eventually.

Recently, I'd been having a bit of a battle with dry patches of skin and while I was sighing at my reflection in the bathroom mirror, a memory stirred. I hunted around on the shelves, found my copy of Gorgeous Skin and settled down for a read. It's basically an "eat yourself beautiful" kind of approach involving common sense things like scoffing lots of fruit and veggies, plenty of fish, staying away from junk food and supplementing with fish oil and some vitamins and minerals.

I decided to give it a whirl - but not until January, given I had a weekend away, a couple of family birthdays and the big Christmas do to contend with in December. So I'm gearing up now. It's mostly the kind of nutritional approach I normally use anyway, but I'm expecting to be a bit stricter than normal, given that it's only for a month.

The slightly distasteful part is that the program begins with a 3-day detox. I'm willing to give it a go, if not exactly enthusiastic about it. Three days of juice, steamed veggies, protein shakes and vegetable broth... uh, let's see how that turns out. I do not promise to give up coffee. I figure the withdrawal symptoms from all the wheat and sugar that's gone down over the past couple of weeks will be bad enough without throwing caffeine withdrawal into the mix.

We acquired a brand spanking new juicer this week, so whipping up some fresh fruit and/or veggie juices will be a breeze. Here's one I prepared earlier:

Apple, cucumber, celery and ginger - yummo!
I shall blog my progress over the month, so stick around and see what happens. If you're brave enough.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Walking Wounded

You may have noticed that I haven't blogged much about my own training over recent months. That's partly because it's been stupefyingly boring due to my ongoing shoulder injury, and partly because any such posts would be punctuated with massive whiney-pants whinges about said stupid shoulder injury. Be grateful that I've spared you...

I figure that it's time for an update though - and I promise not to whinge. Much.

Rewind to the middle of the year, when I was having physiotherapy and dutifully doing my prescribed rehab exercises, but seeing little progress. I was sent off for a cortisone injection in late August, which helped somewhat - at least, the pain was reduced for a while and I went on holiday in September, happy that pain wasn't going to be an issue while we were away. For some reason though, over the next few weeks, I rapidly lost range of motion in the shoulder. Drat. It appeared that I had developed the onset of frozen shoulder and my physio decided to tackle it pretty aggressively with twice-weekly torture. That wasn't my favourite thing in the world, but we did see improvement.

Come late November, the physio still wasn't entirely happy with progress. There was definite impingement, preventing the shoulder getting any more than about 155 degrees of flexion. Back to my GP I went, and the next thing I knew, I was booked in to see an orthopaedic specialist. He didn't think it was frozen shoulder (good) but suspected that I might have a minor tear somewhere (bad), so I was sent off for an MRI in early December. That's the second MRI I've ever had, and the second time I've fallen asleep in the middle of it. I must be really sleep-deprived...

The diagnosis? Bursitis & tendinopathy - nothing new there; those have been issues all along. There is also some thinning and thickening of various bits, and I could have small tears in both the labrum and the rotator cuff ...that's inconclusive at this stage. I also have two small bone spurs on the underside of the acromium, which are undoubtedly causing impingement of the biceps tendon.

My specialist tells me that there is no simple fix; that my choices are:

1. Do nothing - not an option; the pain and inability to do normal stuff is driving me mad.

2. Surgery - results are likely to be good, but there's no guarantee, and I'd be looking at up to six weeks with my arm in a sling. Understandably, I want to avoid this one if at all possible.

That leaves 3. Everything else that isn't surgery. I had another cortisone injection last week, which has almost taken full effect now, and I go back to see the specialist in mid-January to decide what we do next. I'm continuing with my scapular stability rehab exercises, avoiding any other upper body work (except variations of rows and some limited arm exercises) and will be back seeing the physio when he reopens in a couple of weeks.

So I'm trying not to whine, and just doing what I can when it comes to exercise. I'm even limited with leg exercises, because I'm simply unable to hold heavy weights, so no deadlifts or barbell squats. Poop.

My training plans for now include bodyweight, dumbbell and stability ball exercises for legs and core, Pilates and lots of cycling. I have some new Spinervals titles, new shoes and pedals for the spin bike and my new mountain bike, so there's plenty to keep me amused there. My other goal is to get back to running. I'm procrastinating on that one because man, running does NOT come naturally to me. But I shall kick my own butt and get out there and do it anyway.

So today's training was a mix of rehab work and a simple lower body workout that consisted of box squats holding a plate, King deadlifts (no weight required), stability ball hamstring curls and some planks, finishing off with some foam roller work and stretching.

There. You're all caught up - if you've managed to stay awake thus far. Lord knows, I almost bored myself to death.

Now I'm going back to lying on the couch with my Kindle. Holidays rock. :)


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas done and dusted

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Mine got off to a mixed start when I opened my eyes to brilliant sunshine peeking through the blinds...and realised that I had a crashing hangover from a little too much celebrating of our youngest's birthday the night before. Ugh.  

Too bright! Someone turn off that sun.
With only four hours to get everything set up for lunch for our extended family, I did what any sane person would do: took two Panadol, chugged some water and went back to bed for half an hour. Bike Boy brought me coffee in bed and I valiantly struggled upright, ate some breakfast and downed a bottle of Gatorade. By 8:30am I was feeling human but was under the pump to get everything done before everyone arrived...

I flew into domestic goddess mode, prepared potatoes, mixed cocktail bases, and began setting up our outdoor area to cater for lunch for twenty-three.

Random (mostly borrowed) tables & chairs: Major transformation required.
The addition of some discount fabric from Spotlight, some candles, plus all the spare dishes, cutlery and assorted glassware did the trick:
Things got a little busy and I forgot to take a photo of the finished product, with coordinated serviettes, Christmas bon-bons, etc, but you get the idea...

Amazing what you can do with $5-a-metre dress fabric. 
My mum arrived early to help with preparations and I *may* have still been in my pyjamas, but other than that, everything went to plan.

The bar, as always, was the centre of activity before lunch.
I whipped up my favourite Campari & orange cocktails, which were a hit - and got the party started.

Recipe: 1/2 cup Campari, 1 cup orange juice, 1 tbs castor sugar, orange slices. Mix to dissolve sugar,  add 1 cup sparkling wine, top up with soda water. Yum!
Mum's seafood entree was a winner, as usual. I swear those prawns are so fresh, they're trying to crawl off the plates.

The roast beast(s) were popular. Did anyone even feed these kids all week? We put the food on the table and it was like feeding time at the zoo... Bike Boy did an amazing job on the ham, turkey and pork. My sisters, sister in law and I also did an amazing job on the salads.

My pumpkin & chickpea salad was so good, it's almost a meal on its own. I could eat the dressing as a dip. And may do just that... Recipe is in December Home Beautiful, if you're interested.

As usual, we over-catered with desserts. Hmm. Is it even possible to have too much dessert? Surely not.

Death by Chocolate. Zuccotto. Snowflakes. Trifle. Lemon Tart. Plum pudding. Leftover birthday cake (a purchased marbled mud cake).  Raspberry & white chocolate ice cream cake. And some other stuff.
 This is possibly the easiest dessert ever:

Raspberry & white chocolate ice cream cake. Better Homes & Gardens, January issue.
The sun shone, plates were emptied, nobody fought or cried, presents were exchanged, somebody may have had a snooze on the daybed. I call that a good Christmas.

Food coma setting in.
After lunch, a few of us ventured out for a short walk to shake off the stupor from possibly eating several desserts. I'm naming no names.

The weather gods heard my pleas this year. Perfect.
Today, we're kicking back and relaxing. Bike Boy and I got up earlyish and went for a bike ride. I was a bit tired and almost gave it a miss, but the views along the way made me glad I made the effort.

Australian summer perfection!
The new mountain bike is a ripper, and I'm getting the hang of it now.

Mine's the pretty aqua one.
The nearby parkland offers some good riding, with easy gravelled paths, plenty of grassy tracks and some harder sandy or rocky bits. There's always something to see - kangaroos, all kinds of birds, the occasional echidna or wombat or blue-tongue lizard and today's wildlife of the day: a snake. It was dead, but still made me squeal.

Bike Boy has been supervising me on the MTB, but says I'm off my "L"s now.  Yay, me!

Appropriately, my Christmas loot included bike shorts, a bike computer and some pedals and cleats.

The rest of our Boxing Day has featured leftover prawns, some champagne, a bit of cricket watching and much sitting around. Can it get any better than that?


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas traditions

The next four days are going to be fairly busy as we prepare for Christmas Day - it's our turn to host the big family do this year, and we'll be serving lunch to twenty-three assorted relatives. No big deal, we have it down pat now.

We still do a kind-of traditional Christmas dinner, but have adapted it to the Aussie climate, called the BBQs into service to avoid heating up the kitchen, and due to the sheer numbers (and our lazy tendencies), don't plate up individual meals. Instead, we do the whole thing buffet-style; much more sensible. So the menu is looking like this:

Entree: Fresh prawns and my Mum's spectacular smoked salmon roulade.

Main: Roast pork, roast turkey and home-smoked ham, served with roasted veggies and numerous salads. Of course, there's all the usual accompaniments: stuffing, gravy, apple sauce and so on.

Dessert: This year we have the ubiquitous Christmas pudding, a Tim Tam tart, lemon tart, trifle and a chocolate zuccotto something-or-other. And a fruit cake. Plus a couple of others that haven't quite been decided on yet. I'm thinking something with fresh raspberries & white chocolate? Death by Chocolate may be a little O.T.T. next to a Tim Tam tart.

The food-porn ghost of Christmas past: Last year's Death by Chocolate.

For some reason, there's also mince pies, chocolates, nuts and other treats served up with coffee - which nobody needs. But hey, it's Christmas...excess is kind of compulsory, right? No relative is getting out of here without a big plate of leftovers though; I want no desserts left in my fridge. Any prawns that don't get eaten, however, will be squirrelled away for a Boxing Day treat. :)

Meanwhile, all I want for Christmas is some fine weather, so we can eat outdoors.

Dear Santa, please don't send us any of these hailstones this year, OK? 

I'm always curious about what others do for Christmas dinner. Anyone care to share their menu?


Friday, December 21, 2012


This morning, for the first time in weeks, I feel as though I can breathe. The pressure is off because I finished work for the year yesterday and trained my last client on Tuesday. So apart from a couple of emails which I'll get to over the weekend, I have zero work-related responsibilities until mid-January if I so choose.

< Insert huge sigh of relief here >

The absence of pressing work to be done seems to have cleared a small space in my over-crowded brain, which I hope may allow some blogging over the coming weeks. I'm not laying money on it though; we'll see how things go.


We've been doing some cleaning up and rearranging of our storage here, and in the process I spent some time looking through old photos of the boys.  I discovered that I don't have one single Santa pic of The did that happen?

Then I found these and all became clear:

1992. Sweet baby, sulky 5 year old.

1993. Toddler wouldn't cooperate. Smug 6 year old has Santa to himself.


The baby was born in 1995. I obviously just gave up after the previous appalling efforts.

I wonder if I can persuade the three of them to pop down to Westfield tomorrow and queue up for a  Santa photo with all of them in it? Maybe the older two can re-enact the scene from 1994...?


Wednesday, December 05, 2012

We have a winner!

The winner of the Simone Perele $50 voucher, drawn under the strict supervision of yours truly by my pet barrel monkey, is.....


Congratulations, Magda - shoot me your postal address so I can arrange for your prize to be delivered to you.

Thanks to all those who entered, and especially to Uni Hill Factory Outlets for providing the fab prize.


Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Another year under my belt

I've just returned from a birthday extravaganza long weekend in one of my favourite cities in the world: Hobart. We impulsively booked airfares months ago in one of those super-bargain online sales - why would you NOT pop across Bass Strait for the weekend when it only costs $59? Ridiculous. A taxi from our house to the airport costs more...

We stayed at the gorgeous heritage Customs House Hotel - the scene of previous crimes visits to Hobart. It's not flash, but it's comfortable and you can't find a better location: opposite the docks, next to Parliament House and a short walk across a little park to Salamanca Place.

No view from our room at the back, but what a magnificent morning!
We wandered along the waterfront....

Hobart is all about the water...boating, seafood, beautiful views

...Took the ferry out to Glenorchy, to the amazing MONA (Museum of Old and New Art)...

Mount Wellington dominates from just about everywhere.
....where we enjoyed some fabulous artworks, like this Sidney Nolan...

Probably my favourite piece. The scale is enormous!
...Had a delicious lunch at The Source (something we missed out on the last time we visited, so it was on our must-do list this trip)...

Ocean trout - of course! I think seafood featured in every one of my meals.
 ....Went for a sail on the Lady Nelson - our first ever time on board a tall ship....

 ...and wandered around town enjoying the heritage architecture.

Everywhere you look, gorgeous buildings like this one.
Things may be a bit more humdrum back at home, but this towering cupcake did feature yesterday.

Thus ends the birthday festival for another year.  :)


If you haven't entered my giveaway, you still have approximately five hours to do so.... Leave a comment here and you could win a $50 Simone Perele shopping voucher. Who doesn't need some lovely lingerie in their life?


Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas shopping covered at Uni Hill - and a giveaway!

If you know anything at all about me, you'd know that I love shopping. And I especially love grabbing a bargain. Well, who doesn't? Lucky for me, Uni Hill factory outlets is just down the road, so I can get my fix of bargain shopping any time I like. They offer big brands at up to 70% off retail prices, including Nike, Cotton On, Tony Bianco, Lorna Jane, Guess and heaps more.

Recently, I was offered the opportunity to go shopping at Uni Hill, so of course I jumped at it. Duh. I haven't even begun my Christmas shopping, but my family has a glut of birthdays at this time of year, so shopping is always on my mind. 

Where do you think I headed first? Hehe. Not buying birthday presents here...unless they're for meeeee.

Full price Lorna Jane gear? No thanks, I'll take the factory outlet prices!
I'm a bit of a regular at Lorna Jane. You can find me there every couple of weeks, browsing through the racks hunting down a super-special. On this trip I was very restrained and only picked up a crop top - you can never have too many of those....

Next it was onto Nike. They've just opened a new store at Uni Hill, and it's BIG. I grabbed myself a top and a pair of yoga pants, plus some Cool Max gear for Number One Son for his birthday. Sweaty boys, ugh.

Did I mention this place is BIG?

I was hoping to find a pair of shoes for myself, but was unlucky this time round - the ones I liked that were at rock-bottom prices weren't available in my size. That's the luck of the draw with factory outlets. Not to time for sure!

A couple of shops further along is Rivers. This is Bike Boy's favourite clothing store. I swear, he owns one of everything they sell. Polo tops, t shirts, shoes, jeans, undies, socks.... I found t-shirts and tops for myself for a tiny $5 and there was a huge range of casual and work wear for both men and women as well. 

Bargains galore!
You can even pick up shoes for teeny-tiny prices, or casual bags, hats, all kinds of bits and bobs.

Uni Hill has more than clothing though. There are shoes, handbags and luggage, homewares, perfume, books, electronic games, furniture and more.

Need sheets and towels?
How about shoes?
They have sports clothing well covered with at least six different shops offering brands like Converse, Russell Athletic, Adidas, Fila and more. And I can outfit my fussy teenagers at Jetty Surf or Surf Dive n Ski, PLUS satisfy my need to own Chuck Taylors in every colour. What? They regularly sell at the Converse store for $30 - that lets me buy THREE pairs for the full price cost of ONE.

I'm also a regular at Simone Perele down there. Gorgeous lingerie and the ladies there are geniuses when it comes to bra fittings. I love a lingerie saleswoman who can eye you up and down, guess your bra size and she's spot on!

There is also a food court, although it's a bit on the small side. The usual shopping centre offerings are there though - kebabs, donuts, Chinese food, sandwiches, etc. None of that really appeals to me, but luckily Nando's is right outside the front door and the fabulous Degani bakery cafe is just across the street, along with a sushi place and a couple of other options (There's also Cold Rock ice cream, but I try my best to pretend it's not there...).

Some of my loot
Uni Hill Factory Outlets is located on Janefield Drive, Bundoora, in Melbourne's north. It's just off the Ring Road (take the Plenty Rd exit) and the number 86 tram stops right outside, so getting there is a cinch. And you can find out what's happening there by following them on Facebook or Twitter.

There you go: your Christmas shopping has been made that bit easier.

Now here's the exciting bit: Thanks to Uni Hill, I have a $50 Simone Perele gift voucher to give away to one lucky reader. 

All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me what you want for Christmas - easy, see? The competition will close on Tuesday 4th December at 5:00pm eastern time and is open to Australian residents. The winner will be drawn at random and announced on this blog.

Disclosure: I received some vouchers from Uni Hill to use on my shopping trip, but also spent some of my own cash.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Social media etiquette rule #346

Not green eggs and ham. Green pancakes.

Comments on social media posts can sometimes leave you scratching your head and wondering "What was the point of that?" One thing that peeves me is people attempting to assert some kind of moral superiority or demonstrate their refined sensibilities by pointing out that they would never, ever stoop to < insert evil deed mentioned in blog post here >. Apart from the Parenting: you're doing it wrong type of comments, one of the most popular topics for this kind of "feedback" seems to be food.

If you don't eat something, like... I don't know.... green food? cottage cheese? animal products? - do you really think it's necessary to leave comments such as "Yuk" or "Euww" or "Well, I wouldn't eat the meat/cheese/green stuff, but that tomato looks nice" on somebody's blog post or Instagram photo?

Here's a tip: NOBODY CARES IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT. If you are repulsed by a particular food, that's your business. Move on, go make a constructive or insightful comment on another post or another blog.

I'm just saying.

*This little rant was not prompted by any recent comments on this here blog, so don't anybody waste a second thinking "Oh God, does she mean ME?" I promise.