October Things I Love

I say it every month – these months are flying by! Here we are already at the end of October ready for my Things I Love October feature! Let’s get into it!

healthy lemon curd recipe 290x300 October Things I Love

I always feel a bit guilty when I link to one of my own recipes in these wrap up posts (I’m not really sure why, it’s my blog I can link to whatever I like right?!), but I have been absolutely loving this super easy Lemon Curd. In fact I made a triple batch just after sharing the recipe as we were loving it so much, and it’s all but gone now. I think I’ll try to give it a couple of weeks before I make it again, or we’ll just demolish it again!

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One of the things I wrote about in my Joy’s of big city living post was the awesome events that occur up in Auckland. I attended the October Bloggers Brunch Club which is being rebranded as Brunch Club earlier this month which was awesome. It’s great to chat with others who all take photo’s of their food icon wink October Things I Love I’ve also really been enjoying the support from Bloggers Club and the opportunities which have come from them as well. I was also lucky enough to attend the launch of the new soda stream play which was super cool! These things just don’t happen in the smaller cities!

soda 300x300 October Things I Love

I mentioned I was lucky enough to attend the new Soda Stream play launch.  I’d always kind of dismissed Soda Stream it as I thought it would be super high in calories, turns out I was wrong (it doesn’t happen often but I don’t mind admitting it when it does). Not only do the new soda stream play machines (RRP$139.95) come in the most beautiful colours they also come in some sugar free varieties as well! The non-sugar free varieties are only around 35 calories per serving as well which is pretty damn good for when your in need of something fizzy! I’m loving the Sugar Free Pink Grapefruit at the moment!

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Since I’ve made it the past two weekends I’d say that Maddy’s Karagahake Hollandaise is definitely one of my favourites for the month! I’ve altered her recipe a little and when I make it, I use kumara (sweet potato) for the rosti and we have been having bacon instead of Salmon. No matter how you have it I can guarantee that the Hollandaise is amazing! I swapped coconut oil for the butter in her recipe, I halved the eggs and used a teaspoon of each lime and lemon juice.

doingatriathlon October Things I Love

I’m not sure if I’m loving this yet or not but I’ve entered my first Triathlon. Oh shit, it’s real now, I am officially competing in a triathlon at the beginning of February next year! Eeep! I’m very nervous about the swim portion as I am not the strongest swimmer ever. I’m also nervous about what on earth I am going to wear as I’m not too keen on splashing out on an expensive outfit.

tent 300x300 October Things I Love

We have asked for a tent for Christmas (yes early request I know) so we can take advantage of our beautiful country and get out there and really enjoy the summer months. I haven’t been camping in a very long time but am really looking forward to it! I’m also looking forward to going for long swims, reading in the sun and eating strawberries and fresh pineapple! I really want to check out a few walks around New Zealand as well. I was pleasantly surprised when we were looking for tents that Kathmandu has a really pretty range for their clothes – lots of colours.

kmart tanks 300x243 October Things I Love

I’m always surprised at the selection at K-Mart and they’ve done it again! I won a westfield voucher through work and as always I decided I needed more workout clothes so brought the two tanks above (and another tank and my first pair of track pants ever!), both of the tanks are flowy fitting around the tummy but fit nicely around the shoulders. I love the colour on them as well as the awesome quotes.

What are you loving this month?

Auckland: Mt Hobson

I’ve been living in Auckland for a bit over a year now and I don’t think we have fully made the most of the walks that can be done around here but we have gone on a few. A few months back we went for a walk up Aucklands Mt Hobson located between Newmarket and Remuera and as soon as we got to the top the clouds opened and bucketed rain down on us so we didn’t fully get to appreciate the view.

A couple of weeks ago we had a gorgeous sunny saturday that we just could not sit inside and waste so we ventured back to Mt Hobson again for another attempt. The walk up Mt Hobson isn’t too strenuous or long and most people would be able to manage it. While I couldn’t really see many places to park, if you were outside of the bus lane hours you could park across the road at the bottom of where the walk up Mt Hobson starts on Remuera road. Otherwise I’d leave my car somewhere in Newmarket or Remuera and walk from there, afterwards you could have a nice lunch or coffee or even check out some of the shops.

Auckland Mt Hobson 1024x614 Auckland: Mt Hobson

Mt Hobson is one of the smallest of the number of mountains located around Auckland at only 143 metres high. The walk up Mt Hobson will only take 10-20 minutes depending on your pace and there are A LOT of benches for you to sit on at the top. Once you get to the top you are treated to a gorgeous 360 degree view of Auckland. From one side you can see out over the harbour and out to Rangitoto Island and on the other side you can see the motorway and the sky tower in the distance.

You can also see the other main mountains dotted around the Auckland CBD including Mt Eden and One Tree Hill, both of which we have been up – we ran up Mt Eden and Cycled up One Trill Hill and are both definitely well worth a trip too!

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Have you been up Mt Hobson??

What walks near you do you enjoy? I’d love to know in case I’m ever near them!!

Black Box Review

Yes the title could sound a bit dodgy. If you’ve never heard of Black Box or Sample Co you are in for a treat with this post.

SampleCo Black Box is New Zealand’s first In-Home Marketing business that allows the consumer (that’s us!) to try products that are tailored for us…for free! Free?! What, where? Sign me up!

All you need to do is sign up, answer a few questions and then play the waiting game. When a product campaign comes up that matches your profile, you go into a draw to receive a Black Box.  In this box will be a number of full-sized products for you to try. After you have received your black box you just need to fill in a simple feedback form on what you think of the products you received in your black box.

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Here are a few of my thoughts on some of the products from the box:

Airwick Diffuser – I love the smell of this, although in our small apartment we did find it was a bit of an overkill where we originally put it (bathroom) so we swapped it with the one in the lounge and it’s been a lot better.

Almond Breeze, Almond milk – This was good, although personally I don’t notice the difference in taste to others on the market so I would continue to purchase whatever was cheaper.

Hubbards Muesli – We both really enjoyed this, it was nice and crunchy and had a nice selection of different goodies in it. It has a slight hint of vanilla which made it a little sweet, but not too overpowering.

Hubbards Muesli Bars - While these did have a nice flavour, I felt like I was eating air. It didn’t really feel as though I had eaten anything after eating one!

Pad Thai Noodles – Much easier than using the dry noodles, we purchased a second packet as one wouldn’t have been enough for us. Some clever marketing on behalf of Valcom, given that you needed to purchase the pad thai sauce (or make it from scratch but I imagine not many people have the ingredients at home to make pad thai sauce from scratch!) to be able to make the pad thai! As a random side note, I spent three weeks in Thailand and have never ever had a Pad Thai made by anyone other than me (who knows If what I make tastes like the real deal!).

Dish Brush – This was very weird to begin with but I like that it releases the dish washing liquid as you wash and food doesn’t get caught in it, as I absolutely hate it when food gets stuck in the bristles of traditional dish brushes.

There were a few animal products, including cat treats, worming products and pet milk which to be honest I couldn’t tell you if they were any good or not! There are a couple of the other household items we haven’t used yet so I can’t comment on them either.

Have you ever received a black box? If not are you going to sign up now?

Park Bench Workout

I’ve started putting together a few different workout programmes that can be done without expensive equipment and make use of either everyday items or items that you can find while out and about. Today I have a park bench workout for you. This workout is perfect for when you are out for a walk or for going to a playground and letting the kids loose on the playground while you get a workout done on a park bench.

The beauty of this workout is that if you can’t get outside to find a park bench you can do it indoors on a chair you have in your house. If you can’t find a park bench when you are out you will no doubt be able to find a ledge somewhere that is about park bench height that you can complete the workout on.
park bench workout Park Bench Workout

I love how easy it is to incorporate a number of different exercises into the park bench workout. Adding the park bench to the workout can either make an exercise harder or easier depending on the exercise. If you are not confident with any of the moves in this workout then feel free to leave it out or if I have given a way to make it easier then take that option until you are feeling confident to do the full workout. Remember the only person you are trying to be better than is yourself icon smile Park Bench Workout

Before you begin this park bench workout consider where you will do the workout – are you going to do it at home or is there a park (or bus stop ;)) nearby where you can walk or run there and back. When you find your park bench of choice please make sure it is stable, especially for the squat jumps, safety first!

Without further ado here is my park bench workout for you:

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Begin by performing mountain climbers – putting your hands on the park bench like you are about to perform a pushup then bring your knees one at a time as close to your chest as possible. You can do this quickly as though you are running or slowly depending on your fitness level.

Since you are already in the push up position you will next move into performing 10 incline push ups against the park bench. If you struggle with these take a break when needed until you get all 10 done.

Next we move into tricep dips – you can perform these a couple of different ways. First begin by flipping yourself over from the pushup position and place your hands on the park bench with your back to the bench. You can then do the dips by either having your knees bent and at a 90 degree angle (easier) or by having your legs straight out in front of you (harder), you then simply dip down until you feel the stretch in your triceps and push yourself back up with your arms.

Moving into our lower body portion of the workout, side step ups are next. Stand beside the park bench so the bench is beside you and then with one leg step up on to the bench and bring the other leg up to follow it then step back down. You are wanting the one leg you step up with to do the majority of the work so don’t use your planted foot to push you up [no cheating mmmkay!]. Once you’ve completed 10 on this side, face the opposite direction and repeat with the other side.

Next come the squat jumps – or park bench jumps as they should be called in this instance. Facing the bench lower yourself down into a squatting position and then jump up on to the bench (this is why I wanted you to make sure the bench was stable first!). If jumping is a bit too hard for any reason at the moment the squat down and back up then step up on to the bench instead.

Now we move into the abdominal exercises. I’ll let you in on a little secret, I’m not a fan of ab exercises! But they are very important as strong abdominals assist you in everything you do! First we have lying leg raises lie down on the bench, put your hands over your head to hold on to the edge of the bench and simply lift your legs off the bench until they are straight up then slowly lower them down. Keeping the repetition slow and controlled helps to really engage the abdominals and will make you feel it quickly too.

Take yourself into a seated position on the edge of the park bench to perform your V crunches. Start sitting on the edge of the park bench with your hands holding on to the bench beside your thighs. Lift your legs upwards so you end up with a V shape between your torso and your legs and then slowly push your legs out in front of you until they are straight then pull them back in to form the V again. Here is a helpful video to show this exercise.

Lastly you are going to perform a wall sit. This is simply sitting in the squatting position for a length of time with your back against the wall (or back of the park bench in this instance!).  Lower yourself down into the squatting position with 90 degree angles in your legs and hold for 30 seconds.

Now it’s time to take a little breather, have some water and then rinse and repeat! Repeat three times and time yourself and then try to beat your time each time you do it (safely though please!). If you are not sure on any of the exercises then have a look on youtube, or flick me a message or comment and I’ll find a video or images that will help icon smile Park Bench Workout

Have you ever done a park workout before? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this workout – please do comment and let me know. 

Top Tips for your First Triathlon

Summer is coming!! How is your summer body coming along?

If the answer is ‘what summer body’ then you should consider entering an event such as the Sovereign Tri Series, which is being held all over New Zealand between December 2014 and April 2015.

Dont’ wait for New Years to set a New Years resolution to make a change in your life! Click to Tweet

We all know that the resolution will be long forgotten by the end of January. I challenge you to get inspired by the #lifetakecharge mantra from Sovereign and jump into a challenge now!


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